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Food Stamp Benefits Could Be Halted if Shutdown Continues

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: People walk past an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) station, more commonly known as Food Stamps, in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City. According to a Gallup poll released earlier this month, 20% of American adults struggled to buy enough food at some point in the last year. The rate of hungry people in America has gone relatively unchanged since 2008, suggesting the economic recovery since the 2008 recession may be disproportionately affecting the wealthy. More than 50 of GrowNYC's Greenmarket's now accept EBT; over $800,000 in sales were complete with EBT payment at the Greenmarket's in 2012. GrowNYC is also currently offering a program known as Health Bucks: for ever $5 spent using EBT at a Greenmarket, GrowNYC provides an additional $2, which can be spent specifically on fresh fruits and vegetables. Credit: Getty Images

State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) directors have been informed by letter from the United States Department of Agriculture that all funding for the month of November will be cut off, pending further notice

The letter from the USDA, which oversees SNAP, was dated Oct. 11.

“According to the information we have received, several states provide the next month’s issuance files as early as the 15th of the month,” the letter states. “With that in mind, understanding the operational issues and constraints that states face, and in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing states to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice."

Here’s a copy of the letter:

Image source: Weasel Zippers

“What this means if there’s not a deal, if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to get federal government back up and running, in Utah about 100,000 families won’t get food stamp [benefits],” Bill Tibbits, Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center in downtown Salt Lake City, told Salt Lake City's KSTU-TV.

The same would presumably apply to communities across the county.

The U.S. Senate announced a deal Wednesday that would extend the debt limit through Feb. 7, reopen the government and keep it funded through Jan. 15.

It's on the House to review the deal and vote on it. The SNAP shutdown will take affect in November if the House fails to come to an agreement on the Senate deal.

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)


Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image Getty Images.


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