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Government Shutdown Affects Food Assistance Program

a photo of a grocery store with a SNAP sign in the window
SNAP recipients will receive February benefits this week.

People who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance or SNAP benefits will be getting February benefits early due to the government shutdown.  

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has told states they have to distribute February benefits by January 20th, otherwise there would be no funding to cover them.

Summit County will distribute benefits on Wednesday.

Colleen Kelly, from the Summit County Executive’s Office, says the County’s Department of Job and Family Services--which administers the program-- has been receiving calls from people who are concerned about how the shutdown might affect their benefits.

“Unfortunately, there is not an immediate resolution in sight, so we are just working as closely as we can with the state to get out the information that our SNAP clients need to make plans for their monthly budget and whatnot.”

Kelly clarifies that participants who receive the early issuance of SNAP benefits in January will not receive benefits in February. Kelly also says the future of the program is uncertain if the shutdown continues.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with clarification about distribution of SNAP benefits for February.