Illinois Residents To Still Receive February SNAP Benefits During Government Shutdown

Nancy Harty
January 11, 2019 - 1:50 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The federal government shutdown is prompting the state to take an usual move to make sure SNAP benefits continue uninterrupted. 

People receiving what used to be called food stamps through the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program will get their full allotment for February on Jan. 20 - almost two weeks early. 

Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Jim Dimas said the benefits will be early, but not extra and he cautions people to make sure they last.

"This is early, not extra. These benefits have to last them through the end of February and I think we can all appreciate that Illinois is no place to be hungry in February," he said. 

He said issuing the funds early means the USDA can get reimbursed for the amount under a continuing resolution that's funding parts of the federal government during the shutdown. 

The state said SNAP benefits will be automatically loaded into link cards for the 1.8 million low income people in the state who receive them so there's no need to call.

Dimas said his office learned "a lot of skills and a lot of tricks" during the two years the state went without a budget that will help them navigate these uncharted waters.

As for what will happen if the shutdown drags on another month, he said it's not clear.