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Harrison officials discuss food eligibility

November 23, 2012
By MIKE PALMER - Special to the Herald-Star , The (Martins Ferry) Times Leader

CADIZ - Harrison County Commissioners met with Scott Blackburn, director of the county Department of Job and Family Services, who explained to the board the upcoming deductions for food recipients in the county.

"I have an update on the utility allowance," said Blackburn.

"Originally the state had announced that the food stamp amounts would be reduced by $50 per month. However, through negotiations, they have lowered the deduction now it looks like the average deduction will be $23."

The utility allowance is a deduction to a family's available income that is used when determining an assistance group's monthly food assistance benefit.

The utility allowance allows families who are responsible for paying one or more eligible utility bills to receive a larger monthly food assistance benefit, because families with higher utility bills have less money available to spend on food.

Eligible utility bills are heating fuel (electricity, natural gas or propane), water, sewer, trash collection and telephone.

"In the next few weeks, ODJFS will send letters to all food assistance groups explaining the upcoming change in the standard utility allowance," Blackburn said. "If individuals believe their benefits were changed incorrectly, they can request a state hearing. However, a hearing officer cannot change the decrease in the utility allowance. That change is mandated by federal law."

Individuals may request a state hearing by completing the form that will be included in the letter or by filling out the appropriate paperwork at their county department of job and family services.

Also, commissioners passed road-use agreements with Enterprise Liquid Pipeline LLC and Hess Ohio Resources LLC for 1.8 miles of county Road 36 to access their Short Creek B well site.

Commissioner Barbara Pincola announced that the board would begin 2013 budget meetings the first week of December with commissioner-elect Dale Norris invited to be a part of the planning.

Patrick Moore announced that Dec. 12 would be the last day to submit purchase orders for county departments this year.

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