There will be an early issuance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, according to Commissioner Felecia L. Blyden of the V.I. Department of Human Services (DHS). SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), currently serves 12,841 households, which equates to 26,177 recipients territory-wide. In December 2018, benefits were funded at $4,427,454.05; and in January 2019 benefits were funded at $3, 795,348.00.
The U.S Virgin Islands, like other states, depends on federal funds to pay for some of its nutritional programs, which includes SNAP. Commissioner Blyden said, “As the administering agency for SNAP, we must take this federal shutdown and its impact on social programs very seriously and so should SNAP recipients.”
The Food and Nutrition Service has provided notice to states and territories that SNAP’s February allocation will be in January. As a result, the DHS will be issuing February’s allotments sometime in January.
“We are further advising SNAP recipients to cut the fat and remove the frills from their purchases. The uncertainty of how long the federal shutdown will last is sufficient reason to caution how households budget for the use of their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards,” said Blyden.