As the government shutdown heads toward its third week, there are millions of people who could soon be impacted in ways that could force them to make some tough decisions in their homes. The SNAP program, or food stamps, is funded by the federal government. There are enough funds available for January, but there are concerns about where the funding will come from for February and beyond if the shutdown continues much longer. Families won’t be able to get the foods that they need. Many families who receive SNAP benefits have children, and if they don’t receive the benefits, then the children will suffer.
Congress has not given SNAP funding past January. Fortunately, there are about $3 billion in emergency funds. However, that’s nowhere near enough to take care of all of the recipients for the month of February. The last time that a report came out was in September 2018. Over $4.5 billion was sent to each state for the people who receive SNAP benefits. Since there is less than that in emergency funding, someone won’t receive their benefits for the next month. There are a few solutions on the table, but for most people who rely on SNAP to get food each month, there’s a question as to how they will eat.
There are roughly 42 million people in the country who receive SNAP benefits. Almost half of those are working families. They have jobs and have children in the home, but they can’t pay their rent or mortgage and other bills each month along with putting food on the table. They receive benefits so that their children have healthy foods to survive. WIC, food distribution services, and even school lunch programs are in danger of not being able to provide resources to those who rely on these programs as well.