Health and Family Services Cabinet
New Website Gives Food Benefits Customers Better Service; Clients, applicants can have quick online access to information

Press Release Date:  Friday, May 24, 2013  
Contact Information:  Media Contact: Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3104; or Jill Midkiff, (502) 564-7042, ext. 3465  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 24, 2013) – The Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) has launched a new customer service website to better assist families receiving food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

DCBS, part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), launched the federally funded website earlier this spring to give customers faster and more efficient service.

CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes said the new website was created with the needs of SNAP customers in mind.

“Modern improvements like this make it easier for families to apply for benefits and ultimately increase access to healthy food,” she said.

The site is https://snapfoodbenefits.chfs.ky.gov.

The portal is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). DCBS administers the Kentucky food benefits program, which is also funded by FNS.

Customers can complete several activities through the portal, including:
−    Checking potential eligibility through a prescreening process;
− Applying for benefits with an abbreviated application;
− Checking benefit status and amounts;
− Reporting changes; and
− Receiving notices electronically rather than by mail.

DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said the new portal gives customers quick access to basic information and frees up staff time for more in-depth service requests. The portal may also eliminate worries for those with transportation issues, she said.

For those applying online for food benefits, staff will follow up by phone for a complete interview.

“SNAP helps people of all ages afford healthy food,” James said. “For some of our DCBS customers, it means the difference between having a family meal or nothing at all. This website makes applying for benefits, making updates or accessing information even easier since customers don’t have to make an office appointment or even pick up the phone to get help.”

Since the portal’s launch March 11, DCBS has received more than 1,000 electronic applications.

James said in the weeks since the launch of the website, DCBS has implemented several suggested changes from customers and staff, including abbreviating the web address.

“We used that time to listen about what works, what didn’t and what we could adjust to make the site even more effective,” she said. “The feedback we’ve gotten is encouraging. And we’ll keep refining the site to give more families even better access to food benefits.”

Learn more about SNAP online at http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dfs/foodstampsebt.htm.  

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The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.