WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the direction of President Trump, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a plan to ensure that approximately 38 million low-income Americans have the access to the nutrition that they need.
The cost of these benefits is estimated at around $4.8 billion and State administrative expense (SAE) is estimated at about $350 million for a total need of approximately $5.1 billion
Although most federal employees will not be paid beginning January 11, 2019, the plan will secure full benefits for participants in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the month of February. Funding to the USDA expired on December 21, 2018, but January benefits were fully funded and provided to recipients. “At President Trump’s direction, we have been working with the Administration on this solution. It works and is legally sound. And we want to assure states, and SNAP recipients, that the benefits for February will be provided,” Perdue said. “Our motto here at USDA has been to ‘Do Right and Feed Everyone.’ With this solution, we’ve got the ‘Feed Everyone’ part handled. And I believe that the plan we’ve constructed takes care of the ‘Do Right’ part as well.”
In order to secure participants’ access to benefits for the month of February, the USDA is working to provide February benefits to states earlier than usual, most by January 20, 2019. USDA officials said that they will reach out to states, instructing them to instruct them to issue the SNAP benefits for February earlier. Each state will have until January 20, 2019, to request early issuance. “Once the early issuances are made, the February benefits will be made available to SNAP participants at that time,” USDA officials added. These benefits will be made available to recipients on or before January 20, 2019. As a result, no benefits will be issued in February 2019 for the month of February.
The USDA who oversees major nutritional assistance programs will also ensure sufficient funding into the month of February. “The child nutrition programs, including school meals and after-school programs have funding available to continue operations through March,” USDA officials said. “The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has prior year funding which USDA will begin to provide states this week to facilitate February benefits. Other FNS programs, which provide critical assistance to our nation’s food banks, the elderly, and Tribal nations, may continue to utilize grant funding provided prior to the lapse in appropriations. Commodity deliveries to those programs will continue.” These programs are funded on a quarterly basis and funding for January, approximately $2.1 billion was funded through the month of March.
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