Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How is the government shutdown affecting food assistance programs?

Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and in children are in jeopardy of losing their food assistance if the government shutdown continues.
As the federal government shutdown continues, vital programs in our nation’s food and nutrition safety net are jeopardized.

In Illinois, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is funded through the end of the month. Currently, USDA contingency funding and state money is keeping the program operational. However, if the government shutdown continues until November 1, many of the 280,000 individuals in Illinois who use the WIC program could see suspended benefits.

Similarly, households using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will continue to receive their benefits through October. But, if the shutdown continues, SNAP will cease operations on November 1. For the more than 2 million individuals on SNAP in Illinois, any benefits currently on a Link card will remain there, but no new benefits will be deposited into a recipient’s account.

Also on November 1, independent of the shutdown’s effects, the 2009 Recovery Act’s temporary boost to SNAP funding will expire. This decrease means the maximum benefit for all SNAP households will shrink. For a household of one, the maximum benefit will drop $11. For a household of two, the maximum benefit will decrease $20, for a household of three, the benefit will decrease $29, and it will drop $36 for a household of four.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository strongly opposes any cuts to nutrition programs, regardless of whether the programs terminate operations because of the shutdown, or see funding cut due to legislator action. These programs are the first line of defense against hunger in the United States for millions of men, women, and children. Any lapse or reduction in funding would create an increase in need.

To find out more about the Food Depository’s legislative advocacy efforts, visit

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