Today’s post is brought to you by Sara Robbins, Benefits Attorney at Solid Ground and Coalition on Homelessness Board Member.
At the federal level it’s called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Here in Washington we call it Basic Food. But many just know the program that helps people who are low income put food on the table through monthly benefits as ‘Food Stamps.’ Keeping the names straight can be hard enough, but there’s something on the horizon that is even more important to be aware of and straighten out…
There is going to be a short-term cut in Food Stamps for some households in November and December. It is going to be confusing. Be sure to thoroughly read this publication from Washington Law Help that explains the cut.
In the meantime, here are ways you can proactively help folks receiving Basic Food:
- Emphasize that the benefit loss is for two months only. Recipients should contact the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) if they do not receive two benefit deposits in January 2015.
- Ask whether the household has separate utility bills that they pay each month — that is, utilities are not included in their rent. If so, urge them to contact DSHS immediately to provide this information so they will continue to qualify for higher benefits with NO months of reduced benefits.
- Encourage new applicants for Basic Food to let their caseworker know if they have separate utility payments each month.
Contact me (see below) if you have any questions, and please share this publication with any staff that are working with clients/guests!