February food stamps out early

Published 2:13 am Friday, January 18, 2019

DHR director encourages 2,520 local households to budget

Covington County Department of Human Resources Director Lesa Syler is advising clients to budget their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits wisely.

Earlier this week, the Alabama Department of Human Resources announced that food stamp recipients will see February benefits on their cards within the next five days.

“Clients will receive their February allotment on Jan. 20,” Syler said. “We are encouraging them to budget the allotment through the month of February, because they won’t receive an additional allotment during that month.”

The early benefits are due to a workaround required by the ongoing government shutdown.

Syler stressed that the expiration date on the benefits will remain the same, and that the early benefit deposit is not an extra allotment.

“I don’t want them to think that they are going to receive an additional allotment,” Syler said. “It’s not extra. There will still be an expiration date in 12 months.”

The Covington County Department of Human Resources is also still taking applications during the shutdown.

“We are processing SNAP applications every day,” Syler said. “We have made an effort to make sure that all applications are processed timely to make sure that every one that can receive benefits will receive them.”

Syler said that the government shutdown has not affected them in a big way because they are working extra hard to make sure it doesn’t.

“We are putting in the extra effort to make sure that these applications were processed,” Syler said. “Many of them had to be processed before Jan. 16, to ensure that Jan. 20 allotment, so the workers have been working hard to make sure that happens. The workers have been glad to do it just to make sure that the public receives everything they need.”

As of December, Covington County had 2,520 households with 6,150 participants receiving food assistance. The county DHR issued $739,875 for the month of December.

Statistics show 16.5 percent of the population in Covington County receives food assistance.

The average household on SNAP benefits receives about $250 per month; 751,000 Alabamians receive food stamps each month.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees food stamps, is one of nine federal agencies affected by the partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22. Program benefits were funded as normal for January but would have been short for February if the workaround – which took advantage of a rule that continued funding for 30 days after a shutdown – hadn’t been found.