States meeting food stamp deadline
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Jan 21, 2002
Most states will make the Oct. 1 deadline for having a statewide system
in place for delivering food stamp benefits electronically, according to
a recent General Accounting Office report.
GAO found that 46 of the 53 jurisdictions that are required to implement
electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems to deliver food stamp benefits
likely will meet the deadline. The jurisdictions are the 50 states, Washington,
D.C., Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
By October 2001, 39 states and Washington, D.C., already had installed
statewide EBT systems, and six other states were on track to achieve statewide
implementation by October 2002, the GAO report said. The seven locations
unlikely to meet the deadline are West Virginia, California, the U.S. Virgin
Islands, Delaware, Guam, Iowa and Maine.
GAO did not find any technical barriers impeding the statewide implementation
of EBT systems.
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the Agriculture Department in
cooperation with the states, provided about $15.5 billion in benefits during
fiscal 2001. About 80 percent of food stamp benefits are delivered via EBT
systems, which enable recipients to use plastic cards similar to a debit
card or smart card to pay for their food at a store's checkout counter.