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2019 News

SNAP Benefits Distribution Update Issued by State

January 16, 2019

Public questions: Bucks County Assistance Office, 215-781-3300
Media contact: Jonathan Rubin, Director of Housing & Human Services, 215-348-6203, jerubin@buckscounty.org


The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) has issued an update about the distribution of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits during the partial federal government shutdown.

Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture assured Pennsylvania and other states that February SNAP benefits will be fully paid. DHS was informed that the February benefits would have to be issued by January 20 in order to meet the federally imposed deadline.

The state will be able to meet this condition, according to DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. But Miller issued a caution on Monday that SNAP recipients who receive their February benefits in January not mistake the additional benefit as a bonus or increase in their monthly payment.

Rather, Miller said, it will be the only benefit payment that SNAP recipients receive for the month of February. They will not receive a payment on their regularly scheduled February payment date.

SNAP recipients who did not have a renewal due in January, or whose renewal for January was completed by Jan. 14 will have their February benefits available on their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards on Jan. 18, Miller said.

Those whose renewal is due in January and completed their renewal after Jan. 14 will have their SNAP benefits available the day after their renewal is processed.

“Unfortunately, we believe that this change will create confusion and additional challenges for SNAP recipients,” Miller said in an email to statewide stakeholders. “We are notifying recipients that this is not a bonus or increase in their monthly payment; rather, this is their benefit for the month of February. SNAP recipients will have to make this early payment last through an undefined period if the shutdown persists.”

Miller said DHS is awaiting word from the USDA about the availability of benefits for March should the shutdown continue.