State governments across the country are issuing February’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (aka food stamps) a month in advance due to the longest government shutdown in history.

They are also urging recipients to please budget your benefits accordingly as you will not receive your March benefits until March should the government shutdown end soon but if it doesn’t, it may be much longer.

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The USDA issued funds for SNAP for February well before the typical February 1st disbursement and advised states to fund their SNAP benefits for February had to be sent out by January 20th to ensure that money would be available.

As it stands, there is no guarantee when recipients will receive their next payment.

READ: How the Federal Shutdown Affects SNAP: Questions and Answers for Bronx and NYS Residents

Business Insider reports:

USDA officials could not commit to providing SNAP benefits in March and it appears unlikely that the funds will be there if the shutdown were to run that long.

Given the fact that President Donald Trump threatened to shut the government down for “months or even years” during a meeting with congressional leaders on Friday, the uncertainty of SNAP benefits beyond February could become a problem for the millions of people who rely on the program.

Funding for the USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs including “School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk” will also continue into mid-February, according to the USDA’s plan, but it is also unclear what will happen after that point.

The NYSOTDA writes:

“The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance today announced that most recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive their full February benefits early, due to the ongoing federal government shutdown. Current SNAP recipients may receive their February benefits by Thursday, January 17.

Most recipients will receive their entire February benefit early, so it is important for SNAP recipients to budget accordingly considering the uncertainty caused by the federal shutdown.

“New Yorkers receiving their February SNAP benefits early need to carefully plan their food budgets as this will need to last through the entire month,” said Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts. “We will continue to work closely with our local partners to ensure that all SNAP recipients get their February benefits.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has instructed states to issue full February benefits early. This not an “extra” or “bonus” benefit and households will not receive a second benefit for the month of February.

Current SNAP recipients, due to receive February benefits, who do not receive their benefits as part of the early issuance and who live outside of New York City, will receive them on February 1.

Current SNAP recipients, due to receive February benefits, who do not receive their benefits as part of the early issuance and who live in New York City, will receive them on their regularly scheduled February benefit issuance date.”

And with over 35% of The Bronx’s almost 1.5 million population receiving such benefits the results will be disastrous as Trump continues to hold our country hostage over a border wall between the US and Mexico which he promised Mexico would pay for and 59% of Americans don’t want.

This crisis wrought by the government shutdown, the longest in American history, doesn’t just end at the current 800,000 Federal employees not getting paid or SNAP recipients in limbo wondering if they’ll get their benefits to feed their families in March.

With 37% of Bronx residents feeding their families using SNAP benefits, what about the small businesses like bodegas and supermarkets where they spend these monies?

If benefits don’t come in for March that’s well over $36 million (based on the minimum of $192 a month for a single person household in NYS) that local bodegas and supermarkets can lose. This figure could be much higher considering many households get much more due to multiple family members including children.

Trump needs to get his act together. Millions are suffering in this country already as a direct result of his incompetence.

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