USDA asking states to provide February SNAP benefits by Jan. 20


NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 18: Cans of chicken breat sit on a shelf at CAMBA’s Beyond Hunger Emergency Food Pantry on February 18, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The non-profit agency assists low-income residents and those affected by food stamp cuts. Currently the food pantry sees up to 4,500 individuals […]

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY/AP) — Those who receive assistance through the nation’s food stamp program can see their February benefits early as the partial government shutdown continues.

The Associated Press reports Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is asking states to issue the February benefits on or before Jan. 20.

Residents in Portsmouth and Virginia Beach have until Tuesday, Jan. 15, to provide renewal documents or any other related documents.

The Portsmouth Department of Social Services on 1701 High Street will be open through 9 p.m. on Tuesday to help with this process.

Elderly residents or those with a disability are being encouraged to contact B’Onka Hill, Portsmouth’s chief of benefits, by calling 757-405-1800  (extension 8421).

The Virginia Beach Department of Human Services will also have extended hours, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Tuesday.

The USDA said it can fund SNAP through February thanks to the short-term funding bill that ran out on Dec. 22. That bill included a provision giving federal agencies the authority to make obligated payments to support certain programs for 30 days after its expiration date.

Under the provision, the SNAP program will operate as it normally does and without any lapse in service, but with an earlier deadline for states to request benefits through a process called early issuance.

The SNAP program will cost roughly $4.8 billion for February, and those funds have already been appropriated through the expired spending bill.

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