Michigan plans to change when many Bridge Card users get their benefits as part of a way to help improve the availability of fresh food and keep grocers better stocked.
The state announced Thursday that instead of handing out food assistance in the early part of each month, those issued a Bridge EBT Card, which has replaced food stamps, will get funds on different days throughout the month.
The change will be put into place gradually starting in January.
The current distribution method has led to heavier shopping days at the start of each month – especially at inner-city grocers that serve many Bridge Card recipients.
Michigan Department of Human Services Deputy Director Barbara Anders explained the change.
“This gives them the opportunity that they can plan out for their ordering of fresh foods, dairy products and so on, so they don’t have to worry about really pushing it in during the first ten days of the month, and maybe over-buying and having it spoil,” Anders said.
Some merchants supported the change, saying it would allow them to keep stores better stocked at all times.
Anders told WWJ’s Florence Walton the change will also help with staffing.
“It’s hard to keep someone employed if they’re going to get a lot of hours the first ten days of the month and so nothing after that,” she said.
DHS will send bridge card members letters informing them of the new date, and offering emergency food assistance information.
(Copyright 2010 by WWJ Radio. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)