Though the federal government has temporarily reopened, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit recipients will feel the effects of the shutdown for a month, or nearly two.

The spending bill passed last week that reopened parts of the government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approved the distribution of March food stamps. During the shutdown, February benefits were distributed in the middle of January to assure recipients would have their benefits, forcing many to budget their January and February allotments as far as possible. Now, with March benefits guaranteed, an end is in sight to how far those benefits need to be budgeted, but could still cause for hardships in the interim.

A study published this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities stated about 30 million Americans who receive SNAP benefits would experience a gap of 40 days or more between when they received February and March SNAP benefits.

About 70 percent of the 584,000 Indiana residents who receive SNAP benefits will have to wait 50 or more days for their next set of food stamps, according to the study.

Mike Illenberg, communications director of the USDA, wrote to The Herald Times, saying the agency is working with the states to ensure timely distribution of March benefits.

Jim Gavin, communications director of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, said the department has not received any communication from the USDA regarding March benefit distribution, despite food stamps being funded through the temporary spending bill approved by Congress and President Trump.

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