Local residents who use SNAP benefits will not see a lapse in their food assistance, despite the government shutdown.
On tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a plan to ensure that residents have access to the nutrition as the partial government shutdown continues. This plan provides full benefits for participants in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the month of February.
According to data from the US Census Bureau and analyzed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in 2016 there were 16,483 recipients of SNAP benefits.
According to a release, when USDA’s funding expired on December 21, 2018, SNAP benefits for January were fully funded. Some states have already received that money and have been distributing it to participants.
Since the lapse in appropriations, USDA says that they have been reviewing options available to the department for funding February benefits without an additional appropriation from Congress.
To protect SNAP participants’ access for February, USDA is working with states to issue February benefits earlier than usual.
USDA will rely on a provision of the just-expired Continuing Resolution (CR), which provides an appropriation for programs like SNAP and child Nutrition to incur obligations for program operations within 30 days of the CR’s expiration.
USDA will be reaching out to states to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for February. States will have until January 20th to request and implement the early issuance. Once the early issuances are made, the February benefits will be made available to SNAP participants at that time.
USDA has also ensured the other major nutrition assistance programs have sufficient funding to continue operations into February. The child nutrition programs, including school meals and after-school programs have funding available to continue operations through March. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has prior year funding which USDA will begin to provide states this week to facilitate February benefits. Other FNS programs, which provide critical assistance to our nation’s food banks, the elderly, and Tribal nations, may continue to utilize grant funding provided prior to the lapse in appropriations. Commodity deliveries to those programs will continue.
Nutrition Assistance Programs under a Lapse in Appropriations
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Child Nutrition Programs
Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs