From the state: Food benefits increase on April 1st

Just received from the state:

OLYMPIA — Beginning April 1, many people currently receiving food
assistance through Washington’s food stamp program, Basic Food, will
receive an increase in their monthly food benefits. The Federal American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), recently signed into law to help
stimulate the national economy, provides additional aid to people
receiving food benefits. Changes in Basic Food provided by the federal
stimulus package include:

* A 13.6 percent increase in maximum monthly benefit amounts for
most households – meaning a four-person household could receive up to
$668 instead of $588.

* Suspending the three-month time limit on food assistance for
childless, unemployed adults through September 2010.

Households currently receiving Basic Food will automatically receive the
higher benefits. DSHS sent letters to all affected households informing
them of the upcoming increase to their monthly benefits.

People receive their monthly Basic Food benefits electronically on a
debit-like card to spend on food items. The additional grocery purchases
generated by the extra benefits will increase economic activity in
communities across the state. During the state’s 2007 fiscal year,
Washington’s Basic Food Program generated more than $607 million in food
purchases statewide. With recent program expansions, this figure is
estimated to reach nearly $1 billion in 2009.

“Washington state has a history of weathering economic downturns fairly
well, but we haven’t been so lucky this time,” said Troy Hutson,
assistant secretary for the DSHS Economic Services Administration. “As
unemployment continues to rise, more people needing help to make ends
meet are coming to us. The food stamp program is the nation’s first
defense against hunger and these additional benefits provide much needed
help to families and the economy as a whole.”

People who would like more information about Basic Food can go to . Households can
quickly estimate what their monthly benefits would be and apply online.
People can also call 1-877-514-FOOD (3663) for questions about the


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