What Happens to Food Stamps During the Government Shutdown?
In recent years, as the frequency of government shutdowns has become higher and higher, food stamp recipients have been in a state of concern because of the faintness of each kind of shutdown. In this article, we will explain what will happen to food stamps during the government shutdown and what will happen during the next shutdown.
The food stamps Program in Numbers
There is a lot of misconceptions out there about the food stamps program. What most people don’t realize is how vital this program is to the American safety net for low-income families and individuals.
There are currently about 38.5 million people receiving snap benefits. There is the impression that food stamps beneficiaries are concentrated in certain parts of the country.
However, as the map below, shows, even though most of the states with a large percentage of people on food stamps are mostly in the south, there are also a high concentration of food stamps beneficiaries in other parts of the country. Here is a map showing the percentage of people on food stamps by state:
As you can see, the plan is an important part of the lives of many Americans. For example, in Nevada, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia, 14% of the population uses food stamps.
In West Virginia and Louisiana, the figures are 17% and 18%, respectively. New Mexico has the most food stamps, with 22% of the population receiving benefits.
With the closure of the government and the possibility of interruption of interests, millions of people face a real threat of hunger.
Why should the government shut down?
When the President and Congress cannot agree on an appropriation bill or a resolution to continue funding federal government agencies and departments, the government will shut down.
According to the law, Congress must pass appropriations bills, and the president must sign the bills to provide funds for the government in each federal fiscal year. The federal fiscal year is from October 1 to September 30.
If the President and Congress cannot agree on the appropriations bill for that fiscal year, they can agree to pass continuous resolutions that provide funding for government agencies over a period of time, keeping expenditures the same as the previous fiscal year.
When the two parties cannot reach an agreement on the appropriation bill, nor can they reach an agreement on the continued resolution, the government will shut down.
Not all closures affect the entire government. Sometimes, funding disputes revolve around several departments, so when funds run out, these departments will be closed. This is called partial shutdown An example is the closure in December 2018.
Part of the closure involved certain departments including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The funding dispute related to the President’s request for funding for the border wall led to the closure of the government, which affected other departments’ funds and was about to run out. .
What happened to federal workers during the shutdown?
In the event of a shutdown, every federal agency must develop an emergency plan. In the plan, the agent must determine which workers are critical and which are not.
Basic workers are those jobs involve Personal safety, property protection, or certain other types of work required by the agency to continue.
Workers deemed essential must work during the government shutdown, but without pay. Their wages may be repaid after the work stoppage, but this cannot be guaranteed.
During the shutdown, federal employees deemed unimportant were sent home (via unpaid leave). They do not work during vacations, even if they are voluntary. They may pay off their wages after work stops. However, this cannot be guaranteed and depends entirely on Congress.
Food stamps and government shutdown
The Food Stamp Program requires annual funding from Congress. Whether the government shutdown will affect the benefits of food stamps depends on when the last round of funds approved by Congress for the food stamp program expires.
If USDA funding is part of the unresolved funding problem that caused the shutdown, the shutdown is likely to affect food stamp revenues, depending on the duration of the shutdown.
Government Shutdown of December 2018
This is how the government shutdown occurred in December 2018:
The partial After President Trump and Congressional Democrats failed to reach a consensus on funding the southern border wall that the president has long sought, the government shutdown began on December 22.
Nine of the 15 federal departments and dozens of agencies were closed because their funds ran out. However, several funding bills have been passed and signed, so approximately 75% of government services are not affected by the shutdown.
The partial shutdown affected 800,000 federal government workers.
Among them are more than 420,000 unpaid staff, including agents of the FBI, Coast Guard, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Homeland Security.
Update on Food Stamps Benefits
According to USDA, all food stamp benefits in January 2019 will be paid on time. If the closure continues to be a drag, there will be uncertainties in the payment of benefits in February 2019. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture initially stated that it can only pay 64% of its February food stamp obligations with current funds available.
However, the department subsequently stated found a way All benefits for February can be paid, but due to technical reasons, all benefits for February will be paid on or before January 20.
If the shutdown continues until March, there is no information about whether benefits will be paid because the USDA has no more emergency funds available.