As of the first of this year, the maximum income levels and monthly coupon allotments under the food stamp program have been increased. These increases apply to households of three or more.

In addition, households may be eligible for decreased food stamp charges if their heating or utility bills increase this winter. According to the new food stamp rules, recipients may use their most recent utility bills to claim a larger deduction even if they have not yet managed to pay their bills.

Under the new guidelines, if a household's utility bills have increased by more than $25, the household may have its case reviewed immediately. If found to be entitled to a lower purchase price, the recipient will be allowed to buy food stamps at this lower price within 10 days.

Households whose utility bills have increased less than $25 will have their purchase prices adjusted under normal procedures.

Heating and utility costs which will be considered include heating and cooking fuel, electricity, water and sewer service, trash collection, and basic telephone service.

Notices explaining the new procedures will be sent to food stamp households by January 15.

For more information concerning the food stamp program, readers may call the District's food stamp office at 727-0858, or contact Mary Little at 727-0865.

Changes in guidelines for receiving food stamps: