53. How households get their food stamp benefits
The delivery of food stamp benefits via “coupons” has in the last decade been supplanted by the federally mandated Electronic Benefit Transfer system, commonly referred to as “EBT.” All states and territories now participate in the EBT, which is fully interoperable among all states, nation-wide.
The food stamp office sends recipients an identification (I.D.) card, which recipients should have with them when using their EBT card to purchase food items. [7 C.F.R. § 274.10(a).] In some counties, the food stamp office may make you have your picture taken for the I.D. card. [7 C.F.R. § 274.10(b)(1); MPP § 63-504.81.] Residents of drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation programs do not have to have photo identification. [7 C.F.R. § 274.10(b)(4)(v); MPP § 63-504.871.] Households members also do not have to have their pictures taken if their religious beliefs prohibit their being photographed. [7 C.F.R. § 273.10(b)(4)(ii); MPP § 63-504.872.] Households certified by an out-of-office interview also do not have to have an I.D. taken under certain circumstances. [MPP § 63-504.873.] Households eligible for expedited service do not need photo I.D.s if they cannot get them in time to receive this service. [7 C.F.R. § 274.10(b)(iii); MPP § 63-504.874.]
The food stamp office must have rules that make it easy for households with special needs (such as elderly or disabled people, households in rural areas, homeless households, and households that don’t speak English) to get their food stamp benefits. [7 U.S.C. § 2020 (e)(2)(A).]
The legal standard imposed on state food stamp program to assist those with special needs was changed explicitly in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, to place a more strict burden on the state agency. The new language shifts the burden to the state to “establish procedures governing the operation of food stamp offices that the state agency determines best serve households in the state, including households with special needs.” [H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 104-725, at 233 (1996).] In addition, in disasters the Secretary of Agriculture has the authority to modify methods of delivery. [7 U.S.C. § 2014(h)(3)(B); 7 C.F.R. § 280.1.]