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Change to food stamp program causes problems

 
Change to food stamp program causes problems
Posted Friday, May 30th 2014 @ 3pm  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A change to the state's food stamp program to stagger the dates benefits are loaded is causing some problems.

The policy change happened in April. It was made at the request of the Ohio Grocers Association who said loading benefits only during the first few days of the month was leading to a rush at grocery stores leading to staffing and inventory problems.

The state expanded the benefits distribution over 20-days, giving later dates to new enrollees. But Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Food Banks says anyone who has had to re-enroll in the program has also been given a later date, causing a large gap in their benefits.

"Where they may have been receiving their benefits on the first they would have to wait, possibly, until the 20th of the month to get their food stamp benefits and it's creating quite a hardship," she said.

Low income Ohioans also face an issue with going to the grocery store. Since many have transportation issues, they share rides to the store. With benefits being staggered, it's causing problems.

When challenges come up, Hamler-Fugitt says people turn to food banks for help. The problem is the system is already over-burdened.

1.8 million Ohioans rely on the food stamp program.

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