Government Shutdown in October Could Halt or Delay Distribution of Food Stamps

Government Shutdown in October Could Halt or Delay Distribution of Food Stamps
Government Shutdown in October Could Halt or Delay Distribution of Food Stamps

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Food stamp recipients in states that distribute benefits on the first of the month may be in trouble if federal agencies shut down.

The United States Department of Agriculture will stop providing SNAP benefits, or food stamps, beginning in October if Congress does not implement legislation to keep federal agencies in operation.

“If Congress does not act to avert a lapse in appropriations, then the USDA will not have the funding necessary for SNAP benefits in October and will be forced to stop providing benefits within the first several days of October,” said Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for the USDA. “Once that occurs, families won't be able to use these benefits at grocery stores to buy the food their families need.”

The USDA reportedly does not have enough money in its reserves to provide a full month’s benefits, and told Democratic lawmakers that a partial government shutdown would affect food stamp recipients in states that distribute benefits on the first of the month, according to The Associated Press.

The food stamp program was not affected during the government shutdown in 2013, but the USDA says that it has run out of reserve funds.

“It's a cash flow issue at this point that will be even worse if there is an actual shutdown,” Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow told the AP. If the government does shut down when the budget year ends next month, a temporary funding bill is required to keep agencies operating.

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