Some Michigan recipients went without food assistance for 3 days, officials say error is fixed

Published On: Jan 30 2013 01:56:56 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 05 2013 03:03:17 PM EST
Michigan Bridge Card food assistance

AP

DETROIT -

UPDATE:

Saturday the Michigan of Department of Technology, Management and Budget completed the process of restoring food assistance benefits to all Bridge Cards that were impacted by an error that was discovered on Thursday, Jan. 3rd.

All food assistance is back on the normal schedule and all recipients can now plan for on-time receipt of the benefit.

READ MORE: Food Assistance Error

Michigan officials said Friday they are making progress on correcting an error that left thousands food assistance recipients without money they were expecting on their state-issued debit cards.

About 85,000 of the state's 1.8 million food stamp recipients, those with account numbers ending in "0," were affected by the problem. State employees and vendors planned to work overnight into Friday to load money onto the Bridge Cards. By noon Friday, the state said it had fixed 50,000 cards.

The state Department of Technology, Management and Budget "understands the hardship that this situation has caused Michigan families and the inconvenience to the businesses that serve them," spokesman Kurt Weiss said in a statement. "The error occurred due to a failure within DTMB to provide a required file that is needed to ensure the benefits are loaded on the card."

A family receiving food assistance gets about $540 a month on average.

Recipients typically know the day each month that money is added to their card and many time their first trip to the store accordingly, Weiss said. A phone line for Bridge Card users "exploded," he said, with calls Thursday quadrupling from 3,000 in a normal day to more than 13,000.

Recipients of food assistance can call 888-678-8914 for updates. Bridge Cards are given to both welfare and food stamp recipients in Michigan.