Those who rely on food stamps may be facing a shortage as the partial government shutdown issued by President Donald Trump continues. There is no confirmation on when the shutdown will end, but there are reports surfacing that many employees are not coming to their jobs due to no paychecks and now, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may have their assistance disrupted.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is one of the agencies that remains unfunded during government shutdowns. While there are emergency funds of $3 billion specifically for SNAP in the month of January, this will not be enough to cover next month’s funds. Should the shutdown continue through March, food security will be disturbed for millions of Americans.
According to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, approximately 42 million Americans received food stamps in 2017 and more than 68% of those people were in families with children. Additionally, more than 44% of those were in working families.
With SNAP in danger of not being funded enough to secure their recipients, other programs such as The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are also in danger of being defunded throughout the government shutdown.
According to the USDA, these programs “can continue to operate at the State and local level with any funding and commodity resources that remain available.” All things considered, throughout the first five months of 2018, approximately 7 million people were receiving WIC benefits, which is incredibly vital for pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, and children up to age 5 who are at “nutritional risk”.
While things are steady and OK for now for all programs involved, there will be a cause for concern should the government shutdown start extending into February.
Despite these programs being defunded for the duration of the government shutdown, Child Nutrition Programs like school breakfast, lunch, child/adult feeding, summer food service, and more will continue their operations as normal.
This isn’t the first time the SNAP program has encountered a shortage. Under former president Barack Obama, a funding lapse affected the program, to which the former president had to make an announcement that there would not be enough funds for the following month. With no idea as to when the government shutdown will end, Americans remain hopeful for a positive outcome.
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