Iowa’s introducing the paperless foodstamp. DHS spokesman Roger Munns says the coupon books sent to low-income families to help them buy food will be replaced by plastic. They’re phasing out the coupons, and replacing them with a debit-like card shoppers can use at the checkout line. The state will save on the printing of paper coupons, and Munns says welfare clients will gain some dignity. Munns says Iowans are very proud people and are embarassed to hand the clerk coupons that publicly show their economic status. By this fall clients will have “swipe cards” just like bank customers and can use them to buy food products. The new process is likely to help clients keep better track of their benefits, and will help the state cut fraud in the foodstamp program. It ends the use of stolen coupons and fraudulent and also ends the expense of mailing coupon books out each month. The foodstamp debit cards will start appearing this fall and should replace paper food stamps entirely by the end of the year.
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