Santa Rosa, CA – January 14, 2019 – Between January 15-20 the
State will issue February CalFresh benefits earlier than usual to many Sonoma
County residents to cover food during the coming month. The early allocation is due to concerns that the
partial federal government shutdown will prevent issuance of the benefits in
February. Payments will be made by the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), from reserves approved by Congress in 2018.
“We appreciate that the U.S.
Department of Agriculture helping the thousands of low-income families in
Sonoma County who depend on CalFresh for food by allowing the early release of
February funds,” says Karen Fies, Director of the Sonoma County Human Services
Department, which manages the state’s CalFresh program through its Economic
“We also want to assure grocery
stores and farmers markets that accept CalFresh EBT cards that the usual
payment process applies through February with these early release funds,” Fies
The partial federal
government shutdown means that some state benefits and operations are funded
through January only, unless the federal closure ends or Congress directs the
U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue to fund basic nutrition programs
such as SNAP.
Along with the SNAP, other
programs paid for with federal monies may be also affected in the future.
“We don’t know what will
happen with March benefits if the shutdown continues. We remain hopeful that
Congress and the Trump Administration can agree to end the government shutdown
quickly, there is a chance that it could continue beyond January,” said Fies.
“We hope, for our clients’ sakes, that the shutdown ends soon.”
States all over the country
have another reason to hope the shutdown is resolved soon. The USDA has not
said it will reimburse them, if states take on payment of CalFresh benefits or
for administrative expenses if and when reserve SNAP funds are exhausted.