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Evaluation of the Expanded EBT Demonstration in Maryland

This study examined the first statewide implementation of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) for food stamp benefits and cash assistance, demonstrated in Maryland in 1993. The study examined the impacts of the EBT system on recipients, food retailers, and financial institutions; and examined levels of benefit loss and diversion, and administrative costs. The study found that large scale operation of a multi-program EBT system was technically feasible; that the majority of recipients, food retailers, and financial institutions preferred EBT to the check or coupon system that it replaced; and that overall, the EBT system yielded cost savings relative to the previous paper system. In addition to the main evaluation of EBT implementation, this study included three substudies:
  1. Analysis of EBT benefit redemption patterns
  2. Analysis of food store access for food stamp recipients, and the impact of store acess on shopping behavior
  3. Development of an EBT cost simulation model.