The federal government shutdown has been over for quite some time, but it’s still having an impact on the schedule for food stamps – actually, the modern name is Food and Nutrition Services Benefits (FNS) – in Guilford County and across the state.
On Monday, March 18, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced that – due to the government shutdown that ended more than a month ago, and its effects on FNS distribution in North Carolina – the department will continue to adjust its distribution schedules for benefits in April.
The changes for April were made because of other shifts in distribution dates earlier this year. In order to assure that all the enrolled families and individuals could get food during the shutdown, early distributions were made in February. Then, the schedule was adjusted for March to minimize the effect of those early distributions made a month earlier.
Now, for April, families and individuals who normally receive their benefits from the first of the month through April 11 will receive the benefits on their normal cycle. However, those who were scheduled to receive benefits from April 12 through April 21 will all get them on April 12.
The department is emphasizing that there’s no change in the amount of benefits due to the changes in the schedule: People will still get what they would have if there were no government shutdown.
DHHS Deputy Secretary for Human Services Tara Myers stated in a press release Monday that the department has appreciated everyone’s patience.
“We thank families for their patience and understanding during this difficult and uncertain period while we’ve worked to make sure their access to food was uninterrupted,” she said.
All recipients will resume their normal FNS distribution schedules in May.
Earlier in the year, when the government shutdown looked like it might go on for a very long time, there was a concern by some that the distribution of benefits could be significantly delayed to the point where it caused big problems, but those fears proved to be unwarranted.
An email sent out by the department in February sounded somewhat dire. It read: “Despite the federal shutdown, [DHHS] projects to have sufficient funds through February, not only for FNS, but also for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC). However, if the federal shutdown continues, funding for these services could run out after February.”