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Bill directs state to acquire new computer system to check food stamp eligibility

DES MOINES — A new computer system would periodically check if Iowans are eligible for food stamp benefits if a bill that’s cleared a senate subcommittee becomes law.

Republican Senator Jason Schultz of Schleswig proposes that the Iowa Department of Human Services buy the system or pay a private company to verify eligibility for food stamps by July 1, 2022.

“A high-tech efficient tool for DHS to scrub the lists…of recipients and find those who don’t fit in,” Schultz said during a subcommittee hearing.

Janee Harvey of the Iowa Department of Human Services said Equifax has offered the agency a free, one-year trial of its system.

“Our IT leadership has had meetings with Equifax leadership,” Harvey said, “and we’re in the process of determining the system design alterations that will be needed to test the effectiveness of their system.”

In addition, Harvey said the bill would spend state money on a system the federal government will be providing all states, at no charge, in late 2022. Senator Schultz indicated he expects to draft changes in the bill before it’s considered by the Senate Commerce Committee.

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