There is hardly a group of Americans untouched by the government shutdown. Furloughed federal employees returned to lost passwords and jam-packed inboxes. Contractors are facing the grim reality of no back pay at all. And millions of individuals and families that rely on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are going to have to stretch their food stamps weeks longer than they normally would, according to a report released Tuesday by the left-leaning think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
With no end to the shutdown in sight, the vast majority of the USDA program’s 30 million beneficiaries received their February benefits on January 20. They will not receive additional benefits during the month of February. But with March benefits not being delivered ahead of schedule, tens of millions of people will have to make those January 20-issued food stamps stretch for 40 days instead of the 28- to 31-day cycle. And 4 million low-income households may have to stretch their food stamps to 50 days, depending on how and exactly when SNAP is issued each month, which varies by state.
This also means food banks are expecting to see a serious uptick in demand. The report highlighted that community resource agencies would likely absorb the need created by President Trump’s government shutdown, and that finding was further supported by a CBS News report on how the erratic benefits schedule will continue to cause and exacerbate food insecurity for millions of people in the coming weeks.