Lincoln - Paper food stamps need to be used by June 17th 2009. Even though the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) hasn’t issued paper food stamp coupons for 6½ years, if there are any still out there, they need to be used by June 17, 2009.
After that date, retail food stores can no longer accept the paper coupons. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has already notified retailers of the deadline.
Since 2002 DHHS has used an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to issue food stamp benefits to eligible Nebraskans. The EBT card is used much like a debit card, but the benefits must still be spent for food.
And because EBT benefits are issued electronically, clients’ benefits are secure and they never get lost in the mail. Ongoing benefits are issued during the first five days of each month regardless of holidays or weekends.
EBT benefits can be used in any state as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
“We don’t expect very many people to still have old paper food stamp coupons,” said Todd Reckling, Administrator for the Division of Children and Family Services. “But if for some reason they do, it’s time to use them.”
The Farm Bill of 2008 changed the name of the federal food stamp program to its new name, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP.” The new name reflects the national focus on nutrition and putting healthy food within reach for low income households. LB 288 was introduced in the Legislature this session to change the program’s name in Nebraska also.
To see if you are eligible for Food Stamp (SNAP) benefits or to apply for benefits, go to http://accessnebraska.ne.gov. DHHS’ EBT Web site is http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/fia/ebt.htm.