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DHS: U.S. Department of Agriculture Will Send SNAP Benefits Early Because of Federal Shutdown

FREDERIKSTED — Human Services said that people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in the territory will get them early this month.

According to acting Human Service Commissioner Felicia Blyden, the Food and Nutrition Services under the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided notice to states and territories that SNAP’s February allocation will be issued sometime this month.

“We are advising SNAP recipients to budget their allotments responsibly because there is much uncertainty of how long the federal shutdown will last,” Blyden said.

Commissioner Blyden advised recipients to take the shutdown seriously.

“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,” she said.

The deadline to submit certain documentation for renewing benefits must be completed by the close of business today.

The Virgin Islands, as with other states and territories, depends on federal funds to pay for some of its nutrition programs, which includes SNAP, Blyden said.

There are at least 26,000 people in the territory who depend on SNAP benefits. About 12,841 households have SNAP recipients.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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