Wednesday, February 13, 2019 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews
Last month, while the country was in the middle of a month-long federal shutdown, state officials said that the likelihood of SNAP recipients getting benefits for March was low. With the shutdown over, the March benefits will be given out, after all.
The state gave out February benefits early, in January, but warned recipients to use them wisely, since March benefits may not materialize.
With the federal shutdown in the rear-view mirror, however, the state is announcing that March SNAP benefits “will be loaded onto customers’ accounts on March 1,” according to a Feb. 13 statement released by the
Illinois Department of Human Services.
“Our communities shouldn’t have to suffer because of the federal shutdown, and we’ll continue to do all we can at the state level so that Illinoisans don’t see a disruption in their SNAP benefits,” said Governor JB Pritzker in the statement.
“Our plan will reduce the waiting time for benefits for SNAP recipients so our vulnerable residents won’t have to worry about whether the shutdown will prevent them from accessing these services,” he added.
SNAP, which is a federal program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and distributed throughout Illinois by IDHS, is typically allocated to recipients at different times during the month, IDHS officials said.
“Customers typically receive their SNAP benefits at different times during the month, so this will be on schedule for some SNAP customers and early for others,” according to the statement.
IDHS officials said that they plan to issue April benefits between April 1 and April 10 while May benefits will arrive on the regular schedule. The March SNAP benefits, officials explained, were funded through a federal stopgap budget. The benefits for April and May, however, will depend on federal legislators reaching a deal on the budget.
” There is no need for customers to visit the local IDHS offices or call their caseworkers,” officials said. “IDHS staff will be working in the upcoming days to implement the necessary changes to issue benefits early. SNAP customers will receive the normal amount of monthly SNAP benefits on their Link cards, the debit-like cards used to spend SNAP benefits and other cash assistance.”
Officials said that they will work to communicate the new SNAP issuance dates “in the upcoming weeks through the IDHS website, Link website and phone line, a social media campaign and community outreach.” VFP
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