SNAP Benefits To Be Released A Week Early

All Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients will receive next month’s benefits no later than March 7, one week earlier than scheduled.

The early release is intended to ease the burden on recipients that have been forced to stretch February’s benefits for more than six weeks because of the recent unprecedented shutdown of the federal government.

At Cuomo’s direction, the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is issuing March benefits earlier than usual for most recipients to mitigate the hardships caused by the so-called “SNAP gap.” This means many New Yorkers will see next month’s benefits appear approximately a week earlier than their normal schedule. About 2.7 million individuals and 1.5 million households rely on SNAP benefits to make ends meet. In December alone, New York state issued more than $374 million to help New Yorkers avoid food insecurity.

The federal government directed states to issue SNAP benefits on Jan. 17 due to the government shutdown. Approximately 1.4 million households received their February benefits three weeks earlier than normal, to ensure sufficient funding was available. The regular benefits schedule for March was restored after the federal government reopened, causing some New Yorkers — especially those in New York City — to not see benefits until mid to late March.

Nearly 20,000 New Yorkers were furloughed during the federal shutdown and many more were working without pay for 35 days, leaving countless New Yorkers with no choice but to seek emergency food assistance for the first time. Also, as SNAP recipients exhaust their February benefits, food banks and pantries are expecting even greater demand, while dealing with limited resources. Members of the public interested in donating money or non-perishable food items that have not exceeded their expiration dates can visit the Food Bank Association’s website at feedingnys.org/donate. New Yorkers can also support these efforts by volunteering with their regional food bank.

Anyone interested in volunteering can find information at feedingnys.org/volunteer.

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