Louisiana issues February SNAP food benefits early

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

During the federal government's partial shutdown, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) continues to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Services (USDA FNS) to ensure Louisiana's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients have access to their federal SNAP benefits.

As previously announced by USDA, February SNAP benefits will be available. Based on recent guidance from USDA FNS, most SNAP recipients will receive their February benefits early - on or before January 20. These are not extra benefits, but an advance issuance of February benefits. SNAP clients who receive their February benefits during this early issuance will not receive additional benefits in February for that month, and should be careful to budget their SNAP benefits to last them through the entire month of February.

Guidance for individuals:

---New applicants and current clients who are in the process of renewing their benefits are encouraged to not miss application or redetermination interviews and to turn in all requested documents as soon as possible.

---Current clients who have already been determined eligible for February do not need to take any action to receive their benefits.

The federal government has alerted states that they can issue benefits until federal funds are no longer available; it is unclear from the federal government when that will occur. Louisiana will continue to accept and process applications. However, any benefits approved after federal funding runs out will be in a suspended status until states receive more information from the federal government about the shutdown's impact on program funding.

For more information, visit the DCFS website at www.dcfs.la.gov/snap2019faqs.

Contributed by the Department of Children and Family Services