OKLAHOMA CITY — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has instructed the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to issue February SNAP benefits to eligible recipients by Jan. 20 as the partial federal government shutdown continues.
Typically, distribution dates for SNAP benefits are sent out in the first 10 days of the month.
“This was welcome news to all of us at DHS as I know it will be for the more than 610,000 Oklahomans who depend on this program to help feed their families each month,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “We have had numerous discussions with USDA officials over the past few days concerning details of this plan and coordinating our approaches. I have authorized voluntary overtime for our SNAP workforce that has been working through the weekend processing SNAP case renewals and applications already in the queue.”
SNAP recipients who are already receiving benefits will automatically receive their amounts for February on their EBT cards on Jan. 20.
DHS officials say they are under critically short deadlines to coordinate the distribution of benefits. The USDA plans to use limited SNAP reserve funds to pay for benefits beyond Jan. 20.
“It is important for our customers to understand, if they receive their benefits early, they will not receive any other SNAP benefits in February, so they should budget accordingly," said Patrick Klein, DHS Adult and Family Services Director.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma are others are ready to step in and provide assistance for SNAP recipients and anyone affected by the shutdown, officials said.
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