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Changes to food stamp benefits starting soon

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INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 9, 2013) – Hoosiers who receive food stamps better plan ahead.

A new payment schedule begins on Jan. 1 for those enrolled in the SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The amount of benefits won’t change, but the day on which recipients get their benefits will.

Payments will depend on the first letter of the client’s last name. Instead of being made during the first 10 days of each month, those payments will be spread from the fifth to the 23rd of every month, on odd days. The change is a result of Senate Enrolled Act 530, passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 2013.

To help ease the transition, SNAP benefits in January will be separated between the recipient’s current date and their new one. After that trial run, the new dates take effect.

The change is supposed to help food pantries and grocery stores. Pantries are overwhelmed at the end of the month when recipients run out of money and need food. Grocery stores tend to get crowded at the beginning of the month as recipients all use their benefits at the same time.

The Family and Social Services Administration set up a website detailing the changes and how they’ll affect people enrolled in SNAP.

The FSSA says more than 926,000 Hoosiers in 418,000 households receive SNAP benefits. That’s about one-sixth of Indiana’s population, the agency says.