STATE — The February Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be dispersed Jan. 18 and be available for use Jan. 19, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).

DHS Secretary Teresa Miller stated that, “The early payment follows an announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) notifying states that benefits will be fully funded for the month of February, but benefits must be paid early.”

The program, currently serving 1.8 million state residents, “...allows us to get SNAP recipients their benefits for February, but they will have to make this payment last for an undefined period as the shutdown continues.”

The DHS received word from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Jan. 8 that stated that the February benefits would be fully funded, however they needed to be issued by Jan. 20.

The February allotment will be issued to electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards on Jan. 18.

The DHS notes that “This early payment is SNAP recipients’ February benefit and will be the only benefit payment SNAP recipients will receive for the month of February.”

Recipients will not receive a payment on their regularly scheduled February payment date.

“Payments beyond February will be determined based on the availability of USDA funds. DHS is awaiting information from the USDA on plans for March benefits should the partial federal government shutdown continue.”

The DHS will continue to process applications for all benefits during the shutdown, and recipients “...should continue to report changes and submit any semi-annual reviews or renewals they receive during this period to not risk an interruption of their benefits in the future.”

Those with questions regarding their benefits should contact the County Assistance Office by calling 570-253-1700. Benefit recipients can also call the statewide customer service center at 1-877-395-8930.