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Central Ohioans Receive SNAP Benefits Early Due To Government Shutdown

bananas in a grocery store

Ohio beneficiaries of SNAP, the federal food assistance program, will see more money turn up on their cards before the end of the month.

Because of the federal government shutdown, the state is distributing all of February’s money up front, and officials are warning that the sum they receive by Sunday will be all they receive until the end of next month.

Job and Family Services for Franklin County handles the distribution of the benefits. Director Joy Bevins says this is new terrain.

"I have not seen this happen before. I've been in my job now for about three years, so it could have happened several several years ago, prior to me sitting in the seat, but I've not known this to happen before," she says.

Bivens is hopeful that the federal government will figure out an agreement so that SNAP will be funded, but that it could take effect too late.

"If customers are going to get their food assistance in January and February distributed in January, I don't know even if a plan even was in place when that allotment would hit," she says.

And if the shutdown continues through February?

"We do not know. Everything is really uncertain. And we just want to make sure we assure people, informing them of this basically double payment for January," she says. "And encourage them to allow that food assistance payment to last them til the end of February, until we receive more guidance."

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.