What the Shutdown Means for SNAP

What the Shutdown Means for SNAP

By Kirsten Breau

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As of Wednesday January, 16th the government shutdown has persisted for 26 days. Amidst the longest partial shutdown in our nation’s history few sectors of our government have not felt the effects. The impact on SNAP recipients has been of growing concern for Forsyth Farmers’ Market. As noted in a previous post, Georgia’s February SNAP dollars were distributed to participant’s accounts early. These additional funds, which were received for most at approximately the same time as their January benefits, must be budgeted to last participants until their March date of distribution.  We stress there will be no benefit payments in the month of February and with the shutdown persisting there is no word on the availability of March funds.

The funding needed to cover February’s SNAP distribution was secured through a provision in the previous appropriations bill. Since this bill was no longer in effect, state’s were limited to a 30 day window to apply for this funding. This window expires January, 20th, forcing states to receive and distribute funds nearly a month early. This shift in distribution time affects 12.9% of households in Chatham county and 15.3% of households across the state of Georgia. Of the households in Savannah receiving SNAP, 57.2% have children under the age of 18 years old.

The government shutdown has not affected WIC participants in the same way. WIC is a federal assistance program specifically for low-income expectant or new mothers and their children. WIC is administered through USDA grants, but on a state and local level. Their funding is secured through at least the end of February with no significant changes to distribution.

For SNAP participants, even with February funds secured they are facing a new challenge with budgeting and a growing sense of insecurity when it comes to the future of their food access. If you would like to contribute to family’s security at this time you can donate to the Full Plate Program through our website’s GIVE button. The Full Plate Program is an intentional free-food program focused on nutrition security for Savannah’s low-income families and those who have been affected by the government shutdown.

If you or someone you know is has been affected by this government shutdown and needs resources or food at this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our organization. You can contact Kirsten Breau at ffm.vista@gmail.com.

Forsyth Farmers’ Market is committed to the food security of our Savannah community and will continue to update our readers with all relevant information moving forward.

Fu, Jessica. “USDA Finds $5.1 Billion to Fund Food Stamps Program through February.” New Food Economy, New Food Economy, 11 Jan. 2019, newfoodeconomy.org/usda-food-stamps-snap-funding-shutdown/.