Thursday, June 28, 2012

e-Gov Payments Report Now Available

The second edition of the eGovernment Payments newsletter, e-Gov Payments Report,  has been published. This edition features articles on TANF regulations and the latest news about EBT projects around the country. It's available on the website of the Electronic Funds Transfer Association, or by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Novo Dia Rolls Out Famers Market Mobile Payment Solution to Michigan

eGovernment Payments Council member Novo Dia Group, Inc., a software development firm specialized in the health and human services industry, has deployed 325 iPod touch devices 26 farmers markets in Michigan, according to the company. 

The Novo Dia application enables market vendors to accept several types of benefits cards. These include SNAP, WIC and WIC EBT cash-value benefits,  the summer EBT for Children program and Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) benefits. 

The application, running on the iPod touch solves the problem of cost-effective EBT access for farmers markets. In many farmers markets all vendors share a single EBT terminal or rely on a system of physical “tokens” which customers purchase at the terminal and pay for food with at the individual vendor’s stall. 

The new device has a magnetic-card reader attached which allows the iPod to be used like a regular debit card terminal.  It runs Novo Dia’s "Mobile Market+" software.

"Before, our vendors missed out on most WIC and SNAP purchases since they had no equipment to process electronic benefit cards within their stands. Thanks to the Mobile Market+ solution, vendors can process card transactions on the spot," says Joe Lesausky, of the Fulton Street Farmers Market. 

"The Mobile Market+ solution is specifically developed for places with no access to phone lines, networks or electricity," according to Novo Dia. The Mobile Market+ application is approved by Apple and USDA. Approved vendors using the solution download the app directly from the Apple App Store.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Breaking: Senate Walks Back Effort to Block Grant SNAP

By a nearly 2-1 margin the Senate today tabled an amendment by Sen. Rand Paul (R, KY) to block grant the SNAP, formerly Food Stamp, program.

The vote was 65-33 with two abstentions.

Restricting TANF Access

EFTA and the eGovernment Payments Council have provided their comments to the Department of Health and Human Services on the agency's impending rules for restricting access to TANF benefits. To see the EFTA/eGPC comment letter, click here.

eGPC has spent a great deal of time over the last six months on this issue. This included two nationwide surveys, a white paper, and a webinar. Our goal has been to inform the rules-making process so that the rules developed by DHHS actually accomplish the goals of the legislation in such a way that the administration of public funds for eligible households is not adversely affected.

Our fear has been that without a firm understanding of the problem and how public benefits are administered any resulting restrictions on TANF use may be only sporadically effective and could be discriminatory against TANF participants who play by the rules. Compliance with the Section 4004 requirements, as they're called, could also sap valuable resources from the administration of public aid in many states.

We believe that the most effective way to achieve the goals of the Middle Class Tax Relieve and Job Creation Act (Section 4004) is to give states maximum flexibility in developing and managing their own plans that work best for their states and their program participants This is definitely not a situation where one size fits all.

That's how we see it. Check out our comments and let us know if you agree.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

WIC EBT Retail Certification Procedures

The summary of comments received on the WIC EBT Retail Certification Procedures draft Version 2.1 have been posted to FNS' Partnerweb. Click here to access.