SNAP recipients were notified that despite the ongoing government shutdown, benefits would continue through February.
This was welcome news for families and individuals who rely on food stamps to survive; many news outlets were speculating that food stamps would be disrupted by the shutdown. According to Fox News, the United States Department of Agriculture will continue to operate despite the shutdown.
“Our motto here at USDA has been to ‘Do Right and Feed Everyone.’ With this solution, we’ve got the ‘Feed Everyone’ part handled,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “And I believe that the plan we’ve constructed takes care of the ‘Do Right’ part as well.”
The agency reportedly worked with President Trump to ensure that the Americans most at risk were able to receive SNAP benefits and have continued access to funds and foods through the month of February, even if the shutdown continues.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about 42 million Americans of all ages rely on SNAP benefits each month for food and needed items. This figure includes children, disabled adults and seniors. The federal government has also planned to release benefits earlier than usual to states to ensure prompt processing and to allay fears about food insecurity.
SNAP recipients were not the only ones giving a sigh of relief this week. In addition to assurances and the planned early funding of SNAP benefits, the USDA has also made arrangements to ensure the continuation of the WIC program and school lunch programs. WIC is intended for pregnant or nursing mothers and for children under the age of 5, and is a supplemental program. School lunches available for free or at greatly reduced cost help keep children in poverty fed and in some cases, may be the only nutritious meal that child receives in a day. Both programs were confirmed to be funded and continued without interruption despite the ongoing government shutdown.
The USDA is just one of many agencies shuttered or left with a skeleton staff after the government shutdown. The continuation of benefits for SNAP, WIC and school lunch programs ensures that these operations will continue through the month of February and that these crucial benefits remain funded. Other USDA programs have been paused during the three week partial shutdown and are not expected to resume until the standoff over the border wall is ended. The funding today takes some of the pressure and worry off of the most at risk groups and individuals in the nation as the showdown drags on.
~ Liberty Planet