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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: January 21, 2015


NEW CASTLE (Jan. 21, 2015) - The final phase of the plan to issue Food Supplement Program (FSP) benefits over a longer period each month will begin March 2, 2015. The Food Supplement Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, helps to meet the food assistance needs of more than 150,000 Delawareans each month.

Currently, Delaware households in the Food Supplement Program receive their benefits between the second and the 17th of each month, or a 16-day span. Beginning in March 2015, benefits will be issued over a 22-day period - between the second and 23rd - of each month. This change will allow grocers more time to restock their shelves with nutritious fresh foods and to help improve customer service for shoppers.

"Beginning March 2nd, the new plan will be phased in over a four-week period," said Elaine Archangelo, director of the Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Social Services. "It will result in better service to both Food Supplement Program recipients and other customers. By adding more issuance dates, grocers will be able to adequately stock fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy and shelf-stable goods, and customers may experience shorter checkout lines as a result of evening out the shopping volume."

Food Supplement Program households will still receive benefits based on the first letter of the last name of the primary cardholder on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. For example, households that previously received benefits on the seventh of each month because the head of household's last name began with the letter "H" will now receive benefits on the ninth of each month. All Food Supplement Program households will experience no more than a six-day change in their issuance date. During the transition between issuance dates, any household that needs support with food supplies can call Delaware 2-1-1 for referrals.

The first phase of the staggered food benefits occurred in March 2013.

"DSS does not expect any major problems with the final implementation of the Staggered Food Benefit Issuance Project," Archangelo said. "We are confident that extending the issuance cycle supports better service for FSP customers, other store customers and the retailers. There may be some concern and confusion as recipients realize their benefits come a few days later in March. After the initial implementation, which results in a one-time delay between benefit issuance, there should be no further issues specific to this change in issuance dates."

The Food Supplement Program is Delaware's name for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is paid for with federal revenues, but administered by the states.

Beginning in March 2015, the plan will be phased in over a four-week period using the following schedule:

First Letter of Last Name Begins With: Day of Month Currently Issued New Day of Month Issuance
A 2nd of the month 2nd of the month
B 3rd of the month 3rd of the month
C 4th of the month 4th of the month
D 5th of the month 5th of the month
E 6th of the month 6th of the month
F 6th of the month 7th of the month
G 7th of the month 8th of the month
H 8th of the month 9th of the month
I 9th of the month 10th of the month
J 9th of the month 11th of the month
K 10th of the month 12th of the month
L 10th of the month 13th of the month
M 11th of the month 14th of the month
N 12th of the month 15th of the month
O 12th of the month 16th of the month
P 12th of the month 17th of the month
Q,R 13th of the month 18th of the month
S 14th of the month 19th of the month
T 15th of the month 20th of the month
U,V 15th of the month 21st of the month
W 16th of the month 22nd of the month
X,Y,Z 17th of the month 23rd of the month

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.