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Government shutdown: Are food stamps, SNAP, WIC benefits being paid?



With no sign of ending anytime soon, the government shutdown is starting to take its toll on federal services and workers. But for recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, there is good news.

According to a plan released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), SNAP benefits will be available during the shutdown as previously appropriated funding is carried over to meet the needs of the program.

According to the USDA’s release SNAP benefits for January will be available, but there was no commitment for February. If the shutdown were to last into next month, it would be by far the longest shutdown since the budget process was reformed in 1974.

Funding for the USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs including “School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk” will also continue into February, according to the USDA’s plan.

Read more: Here’s what happens to Social Security and disability benefits during a government shutdown»

But while SNAP and the Child Nutrition Program are safe for now, other food programs under the USDA’s purview are not as lucky.

Also, other non-SNAP domestic food programs are no longer receiving federal funding, but may be sustained through state and local funding. The programs that are no longer receiving USDA funds include the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program focusing on low income seniors; The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

95% the staff at the office of Food and Nutrition Services— which oversees SNAP benefits and other food programs — is now on furlough and no longer receiving pay.

In addition to the food programs, other essential USDA duties including the inspection of eggs, dairy, and other food products will continue. Those services deemed non-essential, such as research or the staffing of some national forests, are discontinued.

The shutdown is now in its 12th day and there is no clear end in sight. President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with congressional leaders on Wednesday for the first formal talks on the subject since before the Christmas break, but a resolution is not expected from the meeting.

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