By Ginger Moored
The number of food stamp recipients in D.C. has increased by about 2,000 households after a change in eligibility requirements. Ginger Moored reports on how this is affecting new claimants’ lives.
Under the new D.C. Department of Human Services policy, four-person households with monthly incomes of $3,600 or less may be eligible for food stamps. The income ceiling used to be two-thirds of that amount. Deborah Carroll, who runs D.C.’s food stamp program, says newly eligible families are grateful for this change.
"When you have to make a decision about whether or not you purchase food or pay rent, then this is where a benefit like the food stamp program is important," says Carroll.
Columbia Heights resident Velle Perkins is one of these new recipients. She’s raising four sons and is an administrative assistant at Catholic University. With the $200 she receives each month she can now buy fruits like strawberries and mangoes. It also frees up money for other things.
"My second-oldest, he’s started at a new school and the colors have changed so now I won’t feel so stressed out in purchasing a uniform for his new school," says Perkins.
The Human Services Department’s latest monthly numbers show 5,400 households received food stamps. That’s up from 3,500 before the eligibility change.