New food stamp guidelines start today

Published 9:04 am Monday, November 1, 2010

By Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio News

BEMIDJI — Tens of thousands more Minnesotans will qualify for food assistance on Monday, when new guidelines for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps — take effect.

County social service agencies across the state are gearing up for a potential flood of families seeking help.

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In Minnesota, the program is known as the Food Support Program. As of May of this year, some 425,000 Minnesotans were receiving food support each month.

In Itasca County, more than 4,200 people benefited from the federal program this past September. That’s a nearly 75 percent increase over the same period three years ago.

Terri Friesen, financial assistance supervisor for Itasca County’s Health and Human Services division, expects the numbers to rise significantly under the new rules. Friesen said food support is probably the most vital service for people who need help.

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