Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
SNAP program to begin staggered benefits Saturday
Friday, August 31, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, will be issued on a staggered payment schedule Saturday.
Under the change, benefits will be issued based on the last number of recipients’ case numbers, according to Lisa Thompson, benefit programs manager with the Henry-Martinsville Social Services department.
Currently, Virginia is one of only nine states to issue SNAP benefits to all eligible households on the first day of each month. The new process will expand the issuance of benefits to four times each month, according to a news release.
The benefits will be issued on the first, fourth, seventh or ninth day of the month, the release states.
The new issuance dates will be phased in during September to decrease the amount of hardship caused by the payment gap, Thompson said.
The payment schedule for September will be as follows:
• Case numbers ending in 0, 1, 2, or 3 will receive their payment the first day of the month; and numbers ending in 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 will receive benefits on the fourth day of the month.
The schedule starting in October and afterward is:
• Case numbers ending in 0, 1, 2, or 3 — first day of the month.
• Case numbers ending in 4 or 5 — fourth day of the month.
• Case numbers ending in 6 or 7 — seventh day of the month.
• Case numbers ending in 8 or 9 — ninth day of the month.
The case number is the 7-digit number on all notices or letters from the local social services agency, not the number on a recipient’s card, Thompson said.
Even if the scheduled day falls on a weekend or a holiday, recipients still will get their payments, she added.
The changes were prompted by grocery stores that were having trouble restocking and having enough food available on the first day of the month due to the huge influx of customers, Thompson said. Now, stores will be better able to have supplies of food available, she added.
Since some recipients will have to wait a few more days than usual to receive their payment in September, they are asked to make more frugal purchases including using coupons and buying sale items to stretch their dollars, Thompson said.
SNAP recipients have been notified of the change for the past several months so that they could start saving up for the change, she added.
If anyone does not have enough food to make it to the payment date, Thompson said children of parents who receive SNAP benefits automatically qualify for free school lunches and there are other community resources, including churches, that provide free meals.
“About 60 percent of Virginia’s SNAP customers will initially experience a slight delay during the two-month transition period,” said Virginia Department of Social Services’ Director of Benefit Programs Thomas Steinhauser in a news release.