Impact of the Government Shutdown on Federal Food Programs

What is the Status of Federal Food Programs during the Government Shutdown?

Attention: SSWAA Leaders and Members
We recognize that many of you are seeing the impact of the Government shutdown on families. School social workers are referring families to local food shelves, have conducted food drives at their schools, are navigating other community resources to fill the needs for families and have been compelled to engage in advocacy by contacting their U.S. Representatives and Senators urging them to end the shutdown. Many programs our families rely on are being impacted and below is a summary for your reference.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the school food and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/"food stamps"). USDA is currently not funded under the government shutdown, so what does that mean for these programs?

1. February SNAP Benefits: On January 8, USDA announced SNAP recipients would get their full benefit for the month of February, even if the shutdown had not ended. To meet this obligation, States had until January 20 to request and implement early issuance of February benefits. That means recipients should have already received or will receive their February benefits before the end of January. [See https://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2019/000319 for the official announcement.]

2. Child Nutrition Programs: These programs, including school meals and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, are currently funded through March.

3. WIC: Some of you may also work with families to obtain WIC benefits. Right now funds are available for this program through February.

We are also concerned about furloughed federal workers and their families who are struggling to make ends meet. These families are eligible to apply at any time during the school year for federal school meals programs. Here is an excellent short summary you might share with those families from the Food Research Action Center (FRAC), one of SSWAA's partner organizations: http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/eligibility-for-school-
meals-during-govt-shutdown.pdf .

SSWAA is keeping close watch on these programs and will continue to update you, as further information is released. For those who are interested in learning more about the school food programs and how school social workers can be involved, Alison Maurice of FRAC and SSWAA Government Relations Director Myrna Mandlawitz will be presenting a session at the National Conference in Orlando, April 3-6.

Another resource: https://www.nhlp.org/wp-content/uploads/NHLP_TenantsRightsDuringShutdownFlyer1.23.pdf

Please let us know if there is anything SSWAA can do to support you during this time.