Between Jan. 15-20 the State will issue Feb. CalFresh benefits earlier than usual to many Sonoma County residents to cover food during the coming month. The early allocation is due to concerns that the partial federal government shutdown will prevent issuance of the benefits in Feb. Payments will be made by the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), from reserves approved by Congress in 2018.
“We appreciate that the U.S. Department of Agriculture helping the thousands of low-income families in Sonoma County who depend on CalFresh for food by allowing the early release of Feb. funds,” says Karen Fies, Director of the Sonoma County Human Services Department, which manages the state’s CalFresh program through its Economic Assistance Division.
“We also want to assure grocery stores and farmers markets that accept CalFresh EBT cards that the usual payment process applies through Feb. with these early release funds,” Fies added.
The partial federal government shutdown means that some state benefits and operations are funded through Jan. only, unless the federal closure ends or Congress directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue to fund basic nutrition programs such as SNAP.
Along with the SNAP, other programs paid for with federal monies may be also affected in the future.
“We don’t know what will happen with March benefits if the shutdown continues. We remain hopeful that Congress and the Trump Administration can agree to end the government shutdown quickly, there is a chance that it could continue beyond Jan.,” said Fies. “We hope, for our clients’ sakes, that the shutdown ends soon.”
States all over the country have another reason to hope the shutdown is resolved soon. The USDA has not said it will reimburse them, if states take on payment of CalFresh benefits or for administrative expenses if and when reserve SNAP funds are exhausted.