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J.P. Morgan Speeds Benefits to Kentucky Storm Victims

A quarter million food stamp benefits recipients have been sent electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards in order to cope with food spoilage caused by prolonged electric power loss.

Working with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), J.P. Morgan (New York) has released food stamp benefit payments ahead of schedule in response to the ice storm that recently struck Kentucky. Using electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards, J.P. Morgan provided benefit access on Feb. 2 to over a quarter of a million food stamps recipients who normally receive their benefits between the third and tenth of the month.

The ice storm, which began on Jan. 27, affected several states, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Kentucky was hardest hit, with reports of up to 42 deaths, widespread damage and loss of electricity, water and heat. One consequence, according to a J.P. Morgan source, was spoilage of food. To address the crisis the Kentucky CHFS formally requested acceleration of food stamp payments from J.P. Morgan and within an hour the bank implemented a process to authorize nearly $58 million in benefits, according to the source.

"Releasing food stamp benefit payments ahead of schedule is one way we have assisted customers who have lost food items because of this devastating storm," DCBS Commissioner Pat Wilson said. "We want to be sure every food stamp recipient who needs groceries has the means to purchase them."

The ice storm is believed to be the worst natural disaster in the modern history of Kentucky, according to the J.P. Morgan source. Louisville's Courier-Journal has reported that over 26,000 insurance claims have been filed so far, and more are expected. Kentucky has 26,000 licensed insurance adjusters and the state has authorized over 500 more on an emergency basis, according to reporter Alex Davis.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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