SNAP benefits going out early as shutdown continues

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PIERRE, S.D. (DAKOTA RADIO GROUP) - Because of the federal government’s partial shutdown, people receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will get their February funds early.

A South Dakota Department of Social Services spokesperson tells Dakota Radio Group the U.S. Department of Agriculture has directed states to issue SNAP benefits intended for the month of February by Jan. 20.

Normally, the February SNAP benefits would have been distributed Feb. 10. How benefits are issued will not change, and the early distribution requires no action from SNAP recipients.

The 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 has prior year funding, which the USDA will begin to provide states this week to facilitate February benefits.

Other FNS programs, which provide critical assistance to the nation’s food banks, the elderly and tribal nations, may continue to use grant funding provided prior to the lapse in appropriations. Commodity deliveries to those programs will continue.

SNAP monthly issuance for February is estimated to be approximately $4.8 billion and state administrative expense is estimated at about $350 million for a total need of approximately $5.1 billion.