Governor Mills and Acting Commissioner Lambrew Urge End to Shutdown
Augusta, MAINE - The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced today that individuals and families who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (known as Food Supplement, in Maine) will be receiving their February benefits early to help them withstand potentially severe impacts to SNAP caused by the continued federal government shutdown. Citing its negative impact on Maine families, Governor Mills and Acting DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew also called on the Federal government to end the shutdown.
“The ongoing federal shutdown puts critical services, including nutrition assistance for Maine children and families, at risk,” said Governor Mills. “If the shutdown continues past February, 180,000 Maine families, including thousands of children, seniors, and veterans, could be affected over the coming months. I will continue to monitor the effects of this shutdown and marshal Maine's resources wherever possible to protect our families, but I urge the federal government to end this shutdown immediately before it permanently harms our state.”
“The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will ensure every SNAP participant receives their February benefits, just earlier than usual. Families should be mindful of this when they are planning their shopping for the month, and budget accordingly,” said Acting Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “While the Department will continue to monitor this situation, we urge the federal government to end this shutdown and fund these critical services.”
Maine participants who received a SNAP benefit in January and were scheduled to receive the benefit again in February will receive it on January 17. Participants will not receive another allotment in February.
SNAP is a federal program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provides nutrition assistance to eligible low-income individuals and their families.
According to a December 3, 2018 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 180,000 Maine residents, or one in every seven, participated in the SNAP program in Fiscal Year 2017. More than 61% of Maine’s SNAP participants are in families with children and almost 49% are in families with members who are elderly or have disabilities.
States across the country including Maine are working to ensure the February SNAP benefit will be received regardless of the ongoing federal shutdown, utilizing a provision in the government budget bill that expired December 21, 2018, which allows the federal government to make certain payments up to 30 days after the budget’s end.
Governor Mills and her administration continue to monitor the impact of the Federal government shutdown on Maine employees, agencies, families and communities. Thus far, the vast majority of Maine state workers are unaffected by the current shutdown.