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Food stamp use jumps in Wadena County

August food support numbers are up 68 percent in Wadena County from 2001, according to a recent report on financial assistance programs at the county's social services department.

August food support numbers are up 68 percent in Wadena County from 2001, according to a recent report on financial assistance programs at the county's social services department.

There were 277 food support cases in August 2001 and 464 in August 2008. The numbers are a statistical comparison for the month of August during each year.

The largest increase occurred from 2006 to 2007 when case numbers increased from 364 to 439 after experiencing a two-year decrease from 391 cases in 2004.

Financial Assistance Supervisor Jean Stokes said there has been a lot of food stamp outreach in the last several years.

"You hear it on the radio all the time," she said at the September social services board meeting.

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Typically able-bodied adults without dependents can only get food support for three months out of a 12-month period, Stokes said.

The county becomes exempt from that stipulation when the unemployment rate increases, said County Human Services Director Paul Sailer.

Wadena County is exempt through September 2009 so these adults can continue to receive help, Stokes said. Those with Supplemental Security Income are automatically eligible for the minimum amount of food support, which is $14 per month.

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