FNS Documents & Resources
Evaluation of the Expanded Off-Line EBT System in Ohio: Moving to a Statewide EBT System Using Smart Cards for Food Stamps
To explore the suitability of off-line electronic benefits transfer (EBT) as an alternative to paper issuance and on-line EBT issuance systems, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has supported the Ohio Department of Human Services (ODHS) in expanding off-line EBT issuance to all Food Stamp Program (FSP) recipients in the state. A pilot project in Dayton, Ohio and a demonstration of a combined WIC-EBT off-line system in Wyoming have clearly established the technical feasibility of off-line EBT for FSP benefit issuance. Both the Ohio and Wyoming pilot projects, however, were small in scale, and both incurred higher administrative costs than the paper coupon issuance systems they replaced.
The number of people receiving food stamps fell by over 5.9 million between summer 1994 and summer 1997, with most of the decline occurring in the year between September 1996 and September 1997. This decline occurred during a period of strong economic growth – unemployment fell, inflation stayed low, and the percentage of Americans living in poverty fell slightly. In the same period, Congress enacted and States implemented sweeping reforms to the Food Stamp Program (FSP) and to the nation’s welfare programs.