Indiana rolling out e-benefits
- By Brian Robinson
- May 15, 2001
Indiana has taken its first steps to fully convert its food stamp and cash
assistance programs to an electronic benefits transfer system. All counties
are scheduled to be online with the EBT system by March 2002.
Recipients in Allen, DeKalb and Steuben counties were shown in April
how to use the automated teller machine-style Hoosier Works card that will
replace paper-based food stamps and assistance forms. The state has made
such training mandatory for people to continue receiving benefits.
"We've actually been a little disappointed with the attendance at these
training sessions so far," said Joseph Ferrara, the EBT project director.
"It's averaged only between 72 and 79 percent of those people who had been
notified that they had to take them."
However, he said, that doesn't include members of a household in which
several people might be eligible for benefits, and where one of the members
has taken the training and then gone back to train others in the household.
If you add these situations to others, such as people who have moved from
another state who were already familiar with EBT and felt they didn't need
the training, the figure of "trained" recipients is closer to 85 percent,
The state will use that knowledge to modify training programs in other
counties, Ferrara said. Rollouts will begin in other counties by August
and continue until March 2002.
More than 30 states have completed EBT rollouts.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.