The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) announced that due to the partial federal government shutdown, most clients will receive their basic food benefits for February by Jan. 20.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is directing state agencies to issue Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as Basic Food in Washington, February benefits by Jan. 20 to minimize the potential impact of any lapse in funding because of the federal government shutdown, according to a DSHS news release.

“Healthy food is foundational to our well-being and without it, we struggle to fully contribute to our communities,” stated Babs Roberts, Director for the DSHS Community Services Division within the Economic Services Administration, in the news release. “In our state, over 900,000 children and adults receive food benefits. Seventy-five percent of the people who receive Basic Food does not receive any other cash assistance to make ends meet.”

SNAP recipients normally see their monthly food benefits arrive on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT cards) anywhere from the first of the month to the 20th.

DSHS is urging clients who receive February benefits early to budget carefully, since there may be a long period before benefits can be released again. 

“Some recipients, those who get their benefits on the 20th of each month, for example, will be going two months between SNAP disbursements,” Roberts stated in the news release. “People will want to ensure that the benefits they are receiving now last as long as possible.”

DSHS is keeping its website along with its Facebook and Twitter accounts updated as it receives guidance from the federal government. At this time, if the shutdown does not end by March, it is unclear of the impacts, but DSHS does acknowledge there could be some disruption to programs and services.

For more information visit www.dshs.wa.gov.