EBT card changes set to take effect - WNEM TV 5

EBT card changes set to take effect

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Cuts to the food stamp program could soon mean another hit for already struggling Mid-Michigan families.

Next week, some EBT card users will start to notice a decrease in their benefits.

The Department of Human Services predicts this change in the state's food assistance program will affect one in five households in Michigan. That's more than 450-thousand people.

But some recipients can prevent their benefits from being cut but they've got to do the work to get it done.

Terri Stangl works with the Center for Civil Justice in Flint. She says changes taking effect May 1 affecting recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will mean less money coming in each month.

"For a family of four, this might result in an around $75 a month in loss benefits," says Stangl.

Bridge card users have been getting money for a utility allowance posted to their account. Critics say some people were getting the money who don't have to pay for their utilities.

This year, state lawmakers approved a bill changing that. Now, that money is being taken away unless a resident can show they meet certain qualifications.

Cuts were made in the food assistance program last November and with these changes, reducing some families assistance by nearly $80 or more.

Stangl worries how the strain to make ends meet will impact local communities.

"That's a week of groceries. You have food banks who are worried about this, whether it's going to put a stress on their system," says Stangl.

If you have questions about how the changes will effect you or want more information on what you can do to stop your benefits from being cut, you can call the Center for Civil Justice. The number to their helpline is 1-800-481-4989 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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