socastcmsRssStartBy Benjamin Yount | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
The United States Department of Agriculture is giving states, including Illinois, a path to make sure that no one getting government food assistance loses out their benefits next month because of the partial shutdown.
Anyone on food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, in Illinois is good to go through February.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said Tuesday that the agency is allowing states to pre-qualify for February’s benefits before the USDA loses its authority to spend because of the partial government shutdown.
"We’ll be reaching out to states to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for February," Perdue said. "States will have until Jan. 20 to implement early issuance."
Perdue said the early issuance process is something that the USDA has done before, mainly during natural disasters.
But it’s just for February. Perdue said March’s benefits are up to Congress.
"We’ve provided an additional month of SNAP benefits with this solution," Perdue said. "I believe this is ample time for Congress to act and to send the president an appropriation bill that he can sign."