Will the Shutdown be Shutting Down SNAP/Food Stamps?

The Effects Being Felt by Benefits Recipients in the Northland

DULUTH, Minn.- With the government shutdown entering its third week, effects are already being seen in the Northland.

The shutdown hasn’t reached SNAP benefit recipients just yet, but that safety only lasts this month.

President Trump’s recent declaration that he is prepared to keep the shutdown going for months, or even years, spells out danger for SNAP Food Stamp recipients across the country.

Currently, the SNAP Program is being funded by the Federal Reserve.

But once January ends, the future is uncertain.

Nothing is decided yet for February onward.

“Currently we roughly have about 10,000 households or 15,000 individuals on the SNAP benefits,” said Dusty Letica, Director of the Financial Assistance Division at St. Louis County Health and Human Services.

“So we know a lot of families are dependent on the benefits to feed themselves and their households, so we’re hoping that there will be some kind of resolution.”

A resolution, Letica said, could be one of three outcomes: continuing funding SNAP with the Federal Reserve, finding a new way to fund it, or ending the shutdown entirely.

Director Letica tells us that because Congress already approved funding for healthcare, those on Medicaid and Minnesota Care will not be affected by the shutdown, but they only have enough money to cover Family Cash for 6 months.

Meanwhile, Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, the division of the USDA which oversees SNAP, is experiencing severe cutbacks.

They lost 95% of their staff after 5 days of the shutdown.

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