State warns of SNAP benefit disbursement changes, possible benefit lapse due to fed shutdown
Colorado’s Department of Human Services has issued an urgent advisory to recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. In response to the partial federal government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has asked states to issue February SNAP benefits early, by Jan. 20, before the program potentially lapses at the end of February. The move may affect 220,000 Colorado families who rely on such benefits. The early issuance of benefits also means that Colorado SNAP recipients who are due for eligibility recertification at the end of January need to submit required documents immediately in order to receive food benefits for February. Affected SNAP recipients must file their paperwork by Jan. 15 to ensure they receive February benefits on the expedited timeframe. Colorado families receive approximately $55 million per month in SNAP benefits. The early release of benefits does not constitute additional funding. If the federal government shutdown continues, benefits may not be available after February. Furloughed federal government employees who are in need have also been encouraged to apply for SNAP. The state also forewarned that local food banks and social service agencies may see an influx of clients due to the suspension of food benefits. The state government is encouraging Colorado communities to donate funds to or volunteer their time at local food banks or social service agencies in anticipation of the influx.
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