SNAP benefits issued early, need to last because of shutdown

SNAP benefits issued early, need to last because of shutdown
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A warning from the Arizona Department of Economic Security on Monday urged SNAP recipients to expect their February benefits to arrive early but plan on making them last until March.

It's not additional benefits, according to a release from DES. The state is simply issuing them ahead of schedule because of the federal government shutdown.

The release advised Arizona's approximately 320,000 families that rely on the benefits to plan accordingly. February benefits will be distributed by the recipients' last name as follows:

  • A - F on January 17
  • G - L on January 18
  • M - R on January 19
  • S - Z on January 20

Parked outside of a DES office in Tucson, Jeremiah Struve waited for his wife, Jennifer. The couple applied for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits for the first time Monday. They arrived in Tucson from Idaho last week. Struve said he prefers to work for his money but they'll have to rely on some support until they find jobs.

"I have to be here," he said. "I got to have food... We used the last of our money on gas to get down here."

Before a six-month stay in Idaho, Struve said he followed a promise of good money for processing salmon in Alaska. He said a slow season caused he and some coworkers to be cut a month early and miss out on a couple thousand dollars.

Now the couple are sleeping in their car. Struve said the food stamps will hold them while Jennifer attends several job interviews. If all goes well, they won't need the benefits for more than a more or two. If they still need the benefits and the government shutdown hasn't been resolved, Struve said they'll find a way to get by like they always do.

"Me and my wife we'd go out, we'd have dinner," he said. "We'd buy one meal...and we'd split that and not even complain about it. Just got to survive."

Anyone with a pending application or possible change to their case is urged to contact DES to take care of it sooner rather than later to avoid any interruption in benefits, according to the news release.

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