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7. Low EBT funds make using HIP difficult for some customers

Available resources:

  • A customer service mindset and openly communicating what is happening goes a long way. The system behind HIP is set up in a way where it can take multiple, time-consuming swipes in order for a customer with a low EBT balance to use their HIP funds. If you have volunteers or staff at your market, please encourage them to attend a HIP volunteer training to learn what HIP is, how to explain it, and best practices for welcoming HIP customers. Contact Ellery to schedule a training today! They can do it via Zoom or in-person. Trainings typically take 30 minutes but we can also do an abbreviated 15 minute training if needed.

Tip from farmer:

  • Be proactive for next time. Ask the customer what day of the month they receive their benefits, and encourage the customer to come to the next market after that so they can make sure to maximize their benefit to its full potential.
  • It’s not the customer’s fault, or your fault — it is the way the system is set up. Point that out to the customer, so that way they don’t feel singled out and as though they are the ones causing the issue.
  • Note: Some individuals or families receive a minimally low amount of SNAP benefits each month. Even right after they receive their SNAP benefits, these customers would need many transactions, depending on their family size, to take full advantage of the Healthy Incentive’s $40, $60, or $80 benefit.

Helpful phrasing:

  • “Well, just the nature of how this is! The state really needs to figure out how we can do this in one swipe.”
  • “Don’t worry, this is my job – we’re here to make sure you use all your HIP!”
  • For next month, come and use your HIP first before you use your SNAP – it will take less swipes the more SNAP you have on your card.”

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