Local News

Friday's the Deadline for Food Stamp Card Training

Posted April 1, 1998

— Many people on welfare rely on public assistance to put food on the table. Hundreds of people could lose those benefits because they don't know how to use a new electronic food stamp system. Cumberland County leaders are urging people to learn to use the new system before it's too late.

Cumberland County food stamp recipients are in training. They are learning how to use the new Electronic Benefits Transfer card that will replace traditional paper food stamps Friday. The EBT card works like a debit card at grocery check out counters.

Lillian Thomas tried the new card out during a recent demonstration and really liked it.

"This card is much easier because you have it on your possession," Thomas explains. "You know when you are supposed to go. You have your amount and everything will be fine."

Thomas picked her pin number and received other valuable advice during training. She will never see a disruption in her public assistance, but others will.

There are still 3,000 families who have not come for their training. If they fail to show up by Friday, their benefits will be cancelled. Then they'll have to reapply for assistance.

That could take days and could prevent food on the table. Officials will continue training classes in Fayetteville and Hope Mills until Friday in the hopes it won't come to that.

Cumberland is one of three North Carolina counties testing the new EBT cards.

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