INDIANAPOLIS – Almost a million Hoosiers receiving food stamps will see the date they receive benefits shift in January under a new law.
The amount of the benefits will not change. The monthly average for a household of two is about $291.
But the date they get the money will move.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is waging a campaign to alert the 926,000 recipients of SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – of the change to ease any possible burdens.
Lawmakers changed the law this year, partially at the urging of grocers and other retailers wanting to spread out the traffic and make stocking inventory easier.
Right now, the money is loaded onto an electronic benefits card in the first 10 days of the month, depending on the first letter of the recipient’s last name.
Under the new system, the benefits will be loaded between the 5th and the 23rd of the month, depending on the last name.
January will serve as a transition month to eliminate any delay of benefits.
For instance, if your last name is Smith and you usually receive benefits on the 8th – in January, you will receive half of the amount on the 8th and the other half on your new date, the 19th.
Then in February and in the future, your full amount will be received on the 19th.
FSSA spokeswoman Marni Lemons said the agency wants to save Hoosiers any possible embarrassment if they stock a full shopping cart on the usual January date they receive food stamps and then realize they have only half the money.
Recipients can call for the balance on their benefits card, she said.
Two letters about the change have already been sent to all clients, at a cost of about $300,000. Each recipient will receive a voice recording between Dec. 14 and Dec. 16, alerting them to the change.
Bus and radio ads, as well as an online video, cost an additional $95,000.
The money is coming from the SNAP administrative budget, which is funded half by the federal government and half by the state.
For more information, go to www.snap.in.gov.