February SNAP benefits to be released before January 20th amid government shutdown

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The United State Department of Agriculture is working to make sure families in the SNAP Benefits Program are covered through February amid the government shutdown.

SNAP Benefits to continue amidst government shutdown.

The USDA is one of the agencies unfunded during the partial government shutdown. Sonny Perdue is the United States Secretary of Agriculture. He says although the funds for SNAP automatically renew, the program has not been given funding from Congress beyond January.

Congress has appropriated $3 billion in emergency funds for SNAP distribution, but that would not cover all of February's obligations.

The USDA says they are relying on a funding provision that allows them to provide benefits for February. The provision allows the federal government to make obligated payments within 30 days of a funding shutdown.

USDA will be reaching out to states to request early issuance of benefits to meet the 30-day deadline. States will have until January 20th to implement early issuance.

Officials say once states make the request, the February benefits will be made available immediately to families. Purdue says new participants are still able to sign up.

SNAP benefits for March are still on shaky ground. The USDA will only have the $3 billion in emergency funds. The latest data shows Congress gave out $4.7 billion in SNAP benefits to states in September 2018.

Officials say they are hopeful the House and Senate can send President Trump an appropriation bill "he can sign" that will end the government shutdown.

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