Montana is issuing February’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments a couple of weeks early due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.
The state Department of Public Health and Human Services typically issues SNAP benefits to 117,000 recipients during the first week of every month.
The agency’s Jamie Palagi says those benefits will instead show up on SNAP recipients' EBT cards this Thursday.
“We received guidance from the federal U.S. Department of Agriculture that due to the partial federal shutdown that we needed to issue benefits for February early.”
USDA authorized those early payments because the agency is funded for 30 days after the December 22 government shutdown.
Palagi emphasizes that these are early payments – not extra payments.
“And so to budget their dollars and to plan their menus in a way that they’ll be able to stretch that benefit amount through the end of February.”
Montana distributes about $12 million in USDA SNAP dollars a month. Payments average about $240 per month.
The state health department is spreading the word on its website, social media and pre-recorded phone calls to recipients.
It’s also asking grocery stores to post fliers and tribes to notify members.