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More people getting food stamps

The number of households receiving food stamps in Chilton County has increased by about 15 percent in a year’s time, the area food stamp office reported.

In December 2007, a total of 2,270 households were benefiting from food stamps compared with 2,618 in December 2008.

“The dollar amount is where I saw the biggest difference,” worker in charge Letticia Benson said.

The amount of food stamps in dollars issued in December 2007 was $573,514. By December 2008, that amount increased to $747,459.

Benson said many new recipients had lost their jobs and were looking for work in other counties, and were having difficulty doing so.

“Transportation seems to be an issue,” she added.

There are still those that would qualify for food stamps but do not seek out assistance for one reason or another. For one, many don’t understand that they can work and still be eligible for food stamps.

Others are not happy with the amount of stamps they receive, or assume they would not receive a satisfactory amount due to rumors. Others may be intimidated by paperwork or simply let pride get in the way.

“They have discovered statewide there is a large number of people who qualify for this program,” Benson said. “They should come in and see if they’re eligible.”

A new program called the Alabama Elderly Simplified Application Project allows the elderly to receive assistance for their food purchases by filling out simplified paperwork and requiring them to reapply only every three years instead of annually. Benson said 25 are currently benefiting from this program here.

Anyone can make an appointment to see if they qualify. The Chilton County Food Stamp Office is located off Newport Avenue behind Blockbuster Video. It is open Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office remains open through lunch.

For more information, call 280-2500.