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Michigan Misses the Mark with Push for Twice-Monthly Food Stamp Distribution

March 21, 2008

The Michigan Senate has approved a bill that could make it the first state to issue food stamps twice each month. Food stamp recipients generally receive disbursements at the beginning of each month and many run out of funds within two weeks. Michigan retailers report that 80% of their food stamp sales occur in the first ten days of the month. By disbursing food stamps twice a month, Michigan would ease retailers of the “first of the month crunch,” but would limit the spending freedom of food stamp recipients. “The problem isn’t food stamp’s recipients’ spending; the problem is that their benefits are too low,” said NYCCAH Executive Director Joel Berg. The national average food stamp benefit is equal to $21 a week, or $1 per person per meal. Like food stamp benefits, the future of the Michigan legislation is entangled in the fate of the farm bill, which could limit the ability of states to modify food stamp regulations.

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