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Older Adults Received February SNAP Benefits Early: Impact and Next Steps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants are used to receiving their benefit once a month. During the federal government shutdown last month, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) requested that states issue February’s benefits in January to ensure that people received them during the shutdown.

What does this mean for SNAP participants?

This means that many seniors are budgeting to make their benefits last until March. For some it could be up to 60 days between their last benefit in January and their next in March. When they received their last benefit, SNAP participants were alerted that it could be an extended period of time before another distribution would be made. While the government is open again, the impact on SNAP participants continues. To help close the gap between distributions, the states are permitted to modify March distributions as much as possible.

How can SNAP participants get help now?

People who have already spent their February benefits and need access to food can visit NCOA’s online screening tool BenefitsCheckUp®. It can help older adults find communal or congregate meals in their area, connect them with other emergency food programs like the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Senior Grocery programs, and their local food bank.

Where can SNAP participants go to learn more?

If you or a loved one is a SNAP participant, you can learn more about when to expect March benefits by calling your States SNAP Hotline. You can find the Hotline number for your state here.

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About Erin Kee McGovern

Erin Kee McGovern, JD, is the Associate Director for Hunger Initiatives in the Economic Security Group at NCOA. Erin manages the Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative, an initiative aimed at significantly increasing older adults’ awareness of and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through online and community-based outreach and enrollment activities.