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Federal Food And Cash Assistance Available Despite Shutdown, Ohio Says

The Anthony M. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland. [Mark Urycki / ideastream]
The Anthony M. Celebrezze Federal Building in downtown Cleveland.

The federal government has been partially shut down for almost a week, but not all agencies and services in Ohio are equally affected.

Eligible households will still receive cash and food benefits for January, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said. The department administers both federal programs, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

“For the time being, ODJFS benefits and services will continue without interruption,” Angela Terez wrote in an email. “We are monitoring the situation in Washington closely, are in contact with our federal partners, and will make every effort to minimize any impact to those we serve.”

The federal WIC program, which provides food assistance for expectant mothers and women with young children, will also continue offering benefits in Ohio for now, according to Ohio Department of Health spokesman J.C. Benton.

The national school lunch and breakfast programs, which benefit numerous students in the area, are funded into February, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One of Northeast Ohio’s big federal employers, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, is still open for business, according to agency regional spokesman Steve Burghardt.

“All DFAS offices are operating normally and DFAS employees continue to support the mission by executing payments to military members, military retirees and annuitants, vendors, and those federal civilian employees whose departments or agencies are not affected by lack of funding,” Burghardt wrote in an email.

The Department of Defense, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs, are funded for this current fiscal year, which ends next September.

But things are different for the Coast Guard, which has a station in Cleveland. Military employees are working without pay until the shutdown ends, according to a guidance on the Coast Guard’s website.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.