TRENTON – As the partial federal government shutdown has stalled programs and furloughed workers, New Jersey has decided to send out a round of benefits ahead of schedule. The state Department of Human Services has announced that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients will receive their February benefits early. The allotment will show up on Jan. 19 on their Families First Card.

“This will be the SNAP benefit for the entire month of February, so recipients should budget with that in mind,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. She also said “Recipients should be aware that they’ll be receiving it early and there is no guarantee from the federal government benefits will be available beyond February, should the shutdown continue.”

In a press release, Gov. Murphy said “If the shutdown continues past February, 730,000 SNAP recipients will be affected. New Jersey’s top priority is to stand with our residents, and we urge the federal government to end this shutdown immediately.”

Approximately 800,000 federal employees are impacted by the shutdown, with roughly 380,000 furloughed amid the possibility of back pay. Congress recently approved backpay for furloughed federal employees. The Washington Post reported of those in unpaid status, slightly more than half have remained at work because of the safety- or security-related nature of their jobs.

SNAP is a federal program administered by the Department of Human Services. It offers nutrition assistance to eligible individuals and families with low incomes. The move is based on a provision in the government budget bill that expired Dec. 21, which allows the federal government to make certain payments up to 30 days after the budget’s end.

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