AUGUSTA -- The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that Mainers who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be receiving their February benefits early to help them withstand the impacts to SNAP caused by the continued federal government shutdown.
Mainers who received SNAP benefits in January and were scheduled to receive benefits again in February will receive it on January 17, according to DHHS. Participants will not receive another allotment in February.
SNAP is a federal program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provides nutrition assistance to eligible low-income individuals and their families.
According to a December 3, 2018 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 180,000 Maine residents, or 1 in every 7, participated in the SNAP program in 2017.
More than 61% of Maine’s SNAP participants are in families with children and almost 49% are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities, according to the report.
According to DHHS, states across the country, including Maine, are working to ensure February SNAP benefits will be received regardless of the ongoing federal shutdown, utilizing a provision in the government budget bill that expired December 21, 2018, which allows the federal government to make certain payments up to 30 days after the budget’s end.