Regulating food by staggering food stamp distribution
The Department of Social Services in Richmond, Va. which administers SNAP benefits
Richmond, Va.- Grocery stores in the state of Virginia are able to keep their shelves stocked now that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues food stamps four times each month.
The change was initiated by retailers who said that they had difficulty keeping their shelves stocked at the first of the month. This change became effective for all food stamps recipients on the first of September.
“Benefits will be posted on the first, fourth, seventh and ninth of each month based on the last digit of the recipient’s case number”, said Patricia Kearney of the Virginia Department of Social Services. Case numbers ending in 0, 1, 2 and 3 will receive benefits on the first of the month. Case numbers ending in 4 or 5 can expect benefits on the fourth of the month. Case numbers ending in 6 or 7 will receive benefits on the seventh of the month. Case numbers ending in 8 or 9 can expect benefits on the ninth of the month. The Department of Social Services notified the recipients of these changes back in the summer.
General customers and retailers were excited about the change in the schedule for food stamp payments. “It is nice to see that there is food left on the shelves and shorter checkout lines”, said Krystal Jones a local shopper at Walmart. “The staggered schedule has allowed us to keep our shelves fully stocked with fresh and healthy food,” said Jason Thompson manager of the local Watts grocery store.
Recipients can purchase any food or food products and shop in any store with the Quest logo. They may also by seeds and plants for use in gardens intended for personal consumption. They cannot buy alcohol, cigarettes, pet food, cleaning products, paper products or pay for food when dining in or out of restaurants. As of October 2012, the average number of households receiving SNAP benefits in the city of Richmond was 30,354 according to state data. The amount of money spent was 6.6 million dollars.
While some general customers were pleased with the change, a few food stamp recipients were dissatisfied. “I use to receive my benefits on the first of the month, now I received them on the seventh of each month. It is much harder for me now because I have to budget the amount of money I receive to last me the whole month”, said Tameka Smith, food stamp recipient.
Virginia is now the tenth state to alter the way it issues SNAP benefits.
Tags: Food , Social Issues , Department Of Social Serv
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