The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Protesters hold replicas of food stamps during a rally in support of higher pay for low-wage earners outside the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, December 5, 2013.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CIVIL UNREST FOOD SOCIETY) - RTX16575 Protesters hold replicas of food stamps during a rally in support of higher pay for low-wage earners outside the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CIVIL UNREST FOOD SOCIETY) - RTX16575  

Chicago Public School system pushing food stamps

Chicago Public School parents received robocalls last week encouraging them to sign their children up for food stamps and free or low-cost health insurance.

“Currently there are 68,000 children in the Chicago Public Schools that are not enrolled in free or low-cost health insurance and SNAP also knows as food stamps,” the recording, obtained by The Daily Caller, says. “Your child may be one of them. To find out more about your eligibility call the Children and Family Benefits Unit at 773-553-KIDS.”

“Or visit your child’s school and ask the clerk for a Children and Family Benefits Unit flier,” the message added.

The Chicago Public School website explains the Children and Family Benefits Unit (CFBU) “works to ensure that CPS families receive those benefits to which they are entitled.”

Part of ensuring these families receive benefits to which they are entitled includes outreach.

Sergio Obregon, a CFBU spokesman, told TheDC that the unit primarily works to enroll CPS students in Medicaid and SNAP. He confirmed that the robocalls to parents last week came from CFBU

“It’s been very effective for us,” he said, explaining that last Tuesday the CFBU hotline received 175 calls “from families looking for assistance with respect to enrolling in Medicaid or SNAP.”

“We can send out robocalls whenever we really want to,” he said. “But the ones that they received this past week are stemmed off our report card pick up. So we have report cards go out once a year and that’s when we hit all the students in CPS. But throughout the year we send out messages… specifically to those students that we know are not enrolled in public benefits such as Medicaid. So the idea is to get those students enrolled, if they are eligible of course.”

Obregon noted that the unit also has the dates students need to renew their benefits and are sending out calls two months prior as a reminder.

He added that the unit adheres to the relevant regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicaid, and Agriculture Department, which oversees SNAP.

In recent years the number of people on food stamps has skyrocketed. In January, according to the most recent USDA data, more than 46.5 million people were enrolled in SNAP.