SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced that Illinois has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its effectiveness in reaching those families in need of assistance through the Food Stamp Program, administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). The rate of participation in Illinois is up to 75 percent according to the most recent surveys for FY05, improving participation six percent from the previous year and 10 percent higher than the national average.
“These numbers show we are doing a good job reaching the people that need help and qualify for this program, and making sure their families are getting food on the table all year round,” Gov. Blagojevich said.
The Food Stamp Program was designed to help end hunger and improve nutrition and health. It provides support to needy households and to those making the transition from welfare to work. The program serves as the first line of defense against hunger. It enables low-income families to buy nutritious food which fosters good health and promotes well-being.
Currently, 581,844 households are receiving Food Stamps in Illinois. The monetary benefit, intended to supplement food budgets, was approximately $102.25 per person for FY 2006.
“This recognition from the USDA confirms that we are helping those families who need a boost in their food budgets while living on limited incomes,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “We can expect to increase efficiency even more as we begin to unveil our technology projects which will include offering customers the option to apply for benefits online which we hope will increase access and participation for the program in the future.”