Virginia SNAP recipients to receive February benefits early due to government shutdown

Virginia Mercury

With the federal government shutdown casting a shadow of uncertainty over benefits in Virginia, the state’s Department of Social Services announced this week that it will be doling out recipients’ February food benefits on Thursday.

The move comes after the United States Department of Agriculture issued guidance that participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, also known as food stamps, should receive their benefits early so that they can access them in February.

“This is literally $85 million that is putting food on the table of our most vulnerable participants,” said DSS Commissioner Duke Storen during a Senate Finance Health and Human Resources subcommittee meeting Monday.

The status of future benefits for March, however, is still unknown as the federal government shutdown continues.

“And I have to say that we’re profoundly concerned about that,” Storen told lawmakers.

He added that the department is also concerned about recipients managing their resources effectively to make their benefits last throughout all of February.

The benefits will automatically be loaded onto their SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, cards on Thursday.