Americans who receive food stamps will get their next round of benefits early, but states are warning them to spend wisely as the government shutdown drags on.
Despite uncertainty over funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Department of Agriculture announced last week that it would ensure participants received their February benefits early. However, there was no guarantee when future payments will be made unless the government reopens.
The Association of Arizona Food Banks advised SNAP recipients in the state that next month’s benefits would be seen by Jan. 20, but additional funds might not arrive until the first week of March. That could mean those relying on SNAP will have to make benefits last more than a month between payments. The association cautioned participants they “may not get any more benefits” until the government is reopened.
A message from California’s Department of Social Services to county welfare directors stated that SNAP recipients could expect their payments between Jan. 16 and Jan. 20, but said there was no assurance funds would be available in March. The agency advised SNAP recipients “you should plan your food budget knowing that these benefits will be the only benefits provided through the end of February.”
Texas also advised there was “uncertainty about future federal program funding,” according to state Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Dr. Courtney N. Phillips.
More than 42 million people across the country receive SNAP benefits in a year, according to Feeding America, a nonprofit focused on ending hunger.