Government shutdown pushes early deadline for February SNAP program benefits

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JEFFERSON CITY - The government shutdown is causing those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamp program, to apply by 11:59 AM January 15th for their February benefits, or risk not getting them at all.

In a press release issued Friday, the Missouri Department of Social Services explained how to deal with this deadline.

“If a Missourian has a pending Food Stamp verification they must submit their verification to this special email address or deliver it to an FSD Resource Center by 11:59 a.m. on Tuesday, January 15th. Failure to submit the necessary verification by that deadline means the Food Stamp participant will not get a February benefit,” it said.

Kim Evans, the Deputy Director for Family Support Division, said the department (FNS) was only informed of this new deadline last Thursday.

She said that FNS worked hard over the weekend to ensure most of the SNAP users understood the new deadline. “The family support division was able to load the individuals who are already certified for February benefits which was 93 % of our caseload,” she said.

FNS has tried to reach out to the public by various methods to get them on board.

“We have done a massive blitz on our social media, we have fliers out, we’ve contacted the food banks, we’re just trying to get the information out the best we can,” Evans said.

She said she wanted to stress that FNS wants families to know that this benefit “is not a supplement benefit for January, this is actually their benefits early, and we need for them to budget this amount that they received in January, the additional amount, we need them budget that for their food stamps for February. ”

Evans also said that it was only in the past week that the division has seen effects from the government shutdown.

“It’s affecting the program now, just within the last week, because we’ve had to increase our efforts to get individuals on, and it’s sort of moved the timelines up for which they need to participate,” she said.

“This is an evolving situation and we encourage impacted Missourians to be vigilant of future updates as new information becomes available," said Steve Corsi, the director of the department of social services.

Anyone looking to learn more information can check the Department’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Correction: The deadline to apply passed at 12:00 P.M. January 15. 

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