TRENTON, NJ—SNAP recipients in New Jersey will be receiving their February benefits early because of the continued federal government shutdown.

The New Jersey Department of Human Services announced today that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients who received a SNAP benefit in January and were scheduled to receive the benefit again in February will receive them on Jan. 19 on their Families First Card.

“Due to President Trump’s shutdown, numerous federal programs that provide critical services to residents of New Jersey could be severely impacted,” said Governor Phil Murphy in a statement. “If the shutdown continues past February, 730,000 SNAP recipients will be affected. New Jersey’s top priority is to stand with our residents, and we urge the federal government to end this shutdown immediately.”

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SNAP is a federal program administered by the Department of Human Services. It offers nutrition assistance to eligible individuals and families with low incomes. New Jersey has about 730,000 SNAP recipients.

“This will be the SNAP benefit for the entire month of February, so recipients should budget with that in mind,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson in a statement. “We urge the Trump Administration to end the shutdown and fund these critical services, but SNAP recipients can expect their February benefit – just earlier than usual. Recipients should be aware that they’ll be receiving it early and there is no guarantee from the federal government benefits will be available beyond February, should the shutdown continue.”

Amid the shutdown, states are working to issue February benefits earlier than usual, relying on a provision in the government budget bill that expired Dec. 21 that allows the federal government to make certain payments up to 30 days after the budget’s end.

“SNAP is a critical program, so while we are making sure that the February SNAP benefit will be received, recipients should plan accordingly,” said Human Services Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira in a statement. “The February benefit is being paid early and if the federal shutdown continues, it’s uncertain when the next benefit will be paid.”

“We are continuously monitoring this situation and staying in close touch with the federal government as the shutdown continues,” said Natasha Johnson, director of the Department’s Division of Family Development, which administers the state’s SNAP program. “We are here, along with the local County Welfare Agencies, to assist NJ SNAP recipients with any questions they may have and provide any help that is needed.”

For more information, recipients can click here.

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