Food stamp funding extended amid shutdown, but only through February #More_InJanuary 11, 2019
If the government is not reopened before March, millions of Americans who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the nation’s food stamp program — could have their assistance disrupted.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP at the federal level, is one of the agencies unfunded during the partial government shutdown.
In September 2018, the last month for which data is available, $4.7 billion in SNAP benefits were disbursed throughout every state.
If the shutdown continues through March, there will be no remaining funding for SNAP, endangering food security for millions of Americans.
Other programs were in even more immediate danger than SNAP.
The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) were not receiving federal funds at all during the shutdown, but “can continue to operate at the State and local level with any funding and commodity resources that remain available,” according to the USDA in December.
However, the USDA announced Tuesday that WIC would continue to operate through February, thanks to “prior year funding which USDA will begin to provide states this week.”
In the first five months of 2018, around 7 million Americans received WIC benefits each month.
Americans who benefit from both SNAP and WIC would be particularly affected if the shutdown continues past February.
Staffing for Food and Nutrition Services, which oversees the Child Nutrition Programs, SNAP, and WIC, has been cut by 95 percent since the shutdown began.