Millions of Texans that depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, are being urged by state officials to start budgeting and considering a back-up plan.
The program is federally run and due to the government shutdown, the money given to Texas to fund it is currently tied up.
February’s funds are going to be issued to recipients ahead of schedule on Sunday, January 20. The Texas State Department of Health and Human Services Commission said they are releasing the money early to give people more time to maximize their benefits for the month.
Texas Department of Health and Human Services Chief Press Officer Carrie Williams said the department is waiting for guidance from the government, and right now it’s a “wait-and-see situation.”
“There is still a lot of uncertainty,” said Williams. “We don’t know what will happen in March, we don’t have authority from the federal government to issue benefits beyond February so that’s still a big question for us,” Williams added.
Williams said the state is monitoring the situation closely and remains in contact with federal counterparts.
Since the funds may run out, the state is urging SNAP recipients to start considering other food assistance programs, such as a food bank or food pantry, in case there is no funding available for the month of March.
People can call 211 to get information on other food assistance programs in Austin.