Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits issued early for February because of the partial government shutdown won’t be back to normal for at least another month, and another shutdown could be looming this weekend.
The state Division of Family Support announced this week that it will be issuing SNAP benefits (food stamps) to most people on March 1 “to shorten the time families have to wait for more SNAP benefits.”
Federal regulations require that the benefits be issued no more than 40 days apart. February benefits were deposited January 20, exactly 40 days before March 1.
That means some people will be getting their benefits early again. Kentucky distributes SNAP benefits on a staggered schedule, with each person receiving monthly benefits according to the last digit of his or her Social Security number. Those who normally get benefits later in the month but receive this March’s benefits on the first of the month will have to wait longer than normal again for April’s benefits. If there is another shutdown, the April benefits could come early, forcing people to wait longer for May.
While the government reopened shortly after the benefits were released in January, the spending authorization expires again this Friday, February 15.
Congressional negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on border security for a new continuing resolution, but President Donald Trump has offered no assurance that he will sign the bill. If he doesn’t, the government will shut down again Friday.
Doug Hogan, spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Health and Family Services, said a new shutdown would not affect March benefits.
But according to the continuing resolution approved in January to reopen government, it could affect April benefits. The continuing resolution provided for benefits to be issued early again if a shutdown occurs after February 15. If that happens, April benefits could be issued by March 15, putting families off schedule again for May.