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Regional News

Food stamp benefits to go down over the weekend

Ellen Abbott

People who use food stamps to purchase groceries should get their shopping done early this weekend, as the system will be down Sunday morning to go through an upgrade.

The state is switching providers for its public assistance program, now known as SNAP benefits. To do so, benefit recipients debit like cards won’t work from midnight Saturday until noon Sunday.

So the state’s benefit provider office is encouraging people to do their shopping beforehand.

"We are trying to minimize the impact of this inconvenience. That’s why it’s being done overnight; that’s why it’s being done the third weekend of the month, said Kristen Proud, commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The third weekend of the month typically sees the least usage of SNAP benefits, as cards are replenished at the start of the month.

"So it is a point in time in the month in which, historically, the number of transactions and the value of those transactions is much lower than it is at other points in the month," she said.

Once the system is back online, Proud said people won’t notice anything different about their benefits. Medicaid benefits, which are also administered through the card, won’t be affected by the outage.

About a third of central New Yorkers live below the poverty line.