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Pandemic Food Stamp Benefits Delayed For Some Families, FSSA Offers Help Line

Families and parents have questions about how and when they’ll receive new pandemic-related food stamp benefits, but the state says families should be able to call the agency for answers. 

The pandemic benefit provides a one-time boost in food stamps to families whose kids normally get free or discounted meals at school. The amount families should receive per child is calculated by using the cost of meals at school multiplied by the average number of school days kids missed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

The state says people don't have to do anything to get the benefits; they should have received a new card in the mail or had them added to their existing food stamps card. 

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) spokesperson Marni Lemons says people should call 800-403-0864 if they have any questions. 

"That is the number that people can call with any issues they're having," she says.

Over the past few weeks, families and parents have reached out to ask all kinds of questions, including ones about how to access the benefits once they receive their card, what happens if they lost the card or never received one, and whether or not their child qualifies. 

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Lemons says families should have received their pandemic benefit by the end of last week. However, she says FSSA combined its data with the Indiana Department of Education to process the benefits and merging it has caused some delays.

For additional help finding food resources families can call 211, or visit FSSA's website.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.