Thursday, July 22, 2010

Daniels' FSSA Dumps Food Stamp Policy Enacted By O'Bannon

Indiana's FSSA has decided to end a policy first enacted under the administration of former Democratic Gov. Frank O'Bannon that reduces state grocery benefits paid to persons with developmental disabilities if they also receive federal food stamps. Advocates for the developmentally disabled had argued in a lawsuit filed against the agency recently that the policy violated a federal law that prohibits the states from using food stamp benefits to reduce other benefits paid to recipients. The agency's spokesman, Marcus Barlow, said the lawsuit brought the issue of the 10-year-old policy to the agency's attention after the lawsuit was filed. Barlow says the new policy will be reflected in benefits paid beginning in the month of August. Under the current policy, Indiana reduced a disabled person's monthly grocery allowance as federal food stamp benefits increased so that state and food stamp benefits combined did not exceed $200. The state monthly benefit, however, will still remain capped at $200. It seems rather odd that it took advocates for the disabled a decade before they figured out the state policy violated federal law. It's even more striking that the policy was enacted by a Democratic governor.

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