What does the government shutdown mean for me?

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January 18, 2019 By: Tina Mortimer Category: SHH News

Many members of the community have questions about how the government shutdown will impact their ability to put food on the table. We have gathered some of the most common questions about food assistance programs and provided answers below.

I am receiving SNAP benefits. What does the government shutdown mean for me?

You will still receive full SNAP benefits for January and February. However, SNAP recipients should expect to see February benefits loaded on their EBT cards by January 20th, an earlier timeline than normal. This means individuals may have two months’ worth of benefits on their account in January. No additional benefits will be added in February. We encourage you to plan your purchases carefully and take advantage of additional meals available to your family, like meals offered by your child’s school. You can also utilize local food shelves and free dining sites in your service area by visiting www.mnfoodhelpline.org

Can I still apply for SNAP?

Yes. Through February, there should be no change to the process.

I am a federal worker who needs food assistance. Can I get SNAP benefits? Can I go to a food bank?

If you fit all eligibility criteria for SNAP, you may receive SNAP benefits. In addition, food banks are opening their doors to accept furloughed federal workers and other individuals impacted by the shutdown with SNAP benefits or who need SNAP assistance.

I have been impacted by the government shutdown and am not a federal worker. Can I get SNAP benefits? Can I go to a food bank? 

As mentioned above, food banks are opening their doors for furloughed federal workers or any other individuals impacted by the shutdown who need assistance. However, if you do not fall into this category, but are still affected by the shutdown (i.e. someone who works in a federal worker area and has had hours cut) if you fit all eligibility criteria for SNAP you may apply to receive SNAP benefits.

I have benefits on my card from previous months. Can I still use my EBT card in February?

Yes, you will be able to use prior EBT benefits in February. However, some EBT vendors have been unable to be reauthorized by the USDA at this time so they can no longer accept SNAP. If a your EBT card is not working at a particular store but you have benefits on the card, you should try another store. The Food and Nutrition Services website has a retail locator that can be used to locate other stores that may potentially be able to accept SNAP.

I am a parent of a child getting school lunch. Will my child still get their meals?

Yes, your child will receive meals. School meals programs and afterschool meal programs will be funded through March.

I am a new parent who receives WIC benefits. Will there be an interruption in my benefits?

You will receive WIC benefits through the month of February. WIC clinics will remain open in the near term, though a prolonged shutdown could close clinics and limit benefits.

Will I still receive Meals on Wheels and other senior nutrition programs?

Yes. You will still receive Meals on Wheels. CSFP senior food box deliveries and TEFAP deliveries should continue through March 2019.

What else should I know?

Minnesota and Wisconsin food banks are ready to assist furloughed workers and community members should they need help during this difficult time. Second Harvest Heartland will work closely with partner food shelves and pantries to help meet the need. 

We are watching the situation carefully and—as always—we are working with food banks across the state to ensure we’re ready for the community's emergency food needs.

If you need assistance finding food resources in your area, please visit: ww.mnfoodhelpline.org. If you have questions, please call the Second Harvest Heartland SNAP Line: 651-209-7963.


*This article was based on a Feeding America story by the same name.


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