Government shutdown affecting delivery of SNAP benefits

Published 7:01 pm Thursday, January 17, 2019

The continuing partial federal government shutdown is beginning to affect how a federally-funded food assistance program is being distributed in Boyle other counties throughout Kentucky, but officials say customers shouldn’t be worried. However, it will be important that they budget their assistance benefits wisely.

Other local meal providers that depend on federal money from the USDA also have contingency plans in place if the shutdown lingers, but those who receive the meals won’t notice any changes, according to officials.

Current participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is administered nationally by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will receive their February benefits this month, according to a news release from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (KCHFS).

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February benefits for SNAP customers will be loaded early onto their EBT cards on Sunday, Jan. 20. They may use these funds immediately at any authorized retailer. But SNAP customers should keep in mind no further benefits will be distributed in February because of the partial government shutdown.

People who applied for SNAP after Jan. 15 and who are approved before Jan. 30 will receive their benefits for January and February on their EBT card by Jan. 31. If they receive their SNAP card in February, the January and February benefits will be issued on the card.

The Gathering Place Senior Citizens Activity Center’s meal delivery program, which relies heavily on federal dollars, will not be affected, said executive director Ben Guerrant.

“I don’t anticipate anything at this moment,” Guerrant said. Because of his budget planning, “It will not affect our home delivered meal program at all.”

Meals served at Danville Independent Schools will also not be affected by the partial government shutdown, according to director of food service April Peach. She said she has a contingency plan if the lack of federal money does become a problem.

“There will be no missed meals, and no changes in the quality or quantity” of the meals served at the schools, she said.

“Danville Independent Schools will have no change in service, meals will be provided meeting our high quality standards and remain at no cost as a part of our district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).”

At Boyle County Schools, Director of Food Service Katie Ellis said the latest communications she’s received from the Kentucky Department of Education relayed information that it is working with the USDA to fund school meals “well into March.” She said their meal program is not at any risk of being affected by the federal partial government shutdown.