An unprecedented $100 million dollar budget shortfall has prompted the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to implement a new policy for clients receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Clients who need a replacement electronic benefits card will now receive that card directly from the vendor rather than coming into a local DHS office, according to DHS’ Adult and Family Services Director Jim Struby.
“In the past couple of years, budget cuts have resulted in the agency losing more than 1,200 employees,” Struby said. “Today we have a much smaller workforce still trying to provide critical services to thousands of Oklahomans in need. While we are trying to limit the impact of fewer employees on our clients, we are forced to reduce some nonessential services.”
It will now take up to 7 days for clients to receive a replacement card mailed to their home from Xerox, the state vendor, Struby said. However, EBT cards for Child Care Subsidy, first-time SNAP applicants, and households eligible for emergency or “expedited” SNAP benefits will still be issued in the DHS office.
Nearly 25,000 cards are issued each month, Struby said, and roughly 15,000 of those are replacement cards. Clients needing to replace a lost card will now go online at www.connectebt.com or by calling (888)-328-6551.