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Questions, misinformation abound regarding SNAP, government shutdown

The government shutdown, which ended for at least thee weeks over the weekend, has resulted in online rumors and the spread of misinformation regarding funding for those receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP is the current moniker assigned to the nation’s food stamp program. SNAP benefits are loaded onto electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards which recipients use to buy groceries and other items at stores that accept them. Due to the shutdown, February food stamp benefits were loaded to EBT cards in January and no additional benefits for February will be forthcoming. The Department of Family and Children Services, which oversees the food stamp program in Georgia, is urging recipients to shop grocery newspaper ads and make a budget to conserve funds so they don’t run out during February. Though the government is up and running temporarily, there is no assurance that funding will be available for March benefits. Rumors and misinformation spread online that the February benefits would expire shortly after they were loaded onto the EBT cards. That, officials say, is untrue. Benefits, once loaded, do not expire for 12 months. Approximately 1.5 million Georgians receive SNAP funds which are loaded onto EBT cards over a 19-day cycle between the fifth and 23rd day of each month. At last count, 4522 Lamar countians were on the roll of recipients. That is about 25% of the county’s population. If you have questions, contact the local DFCS office at 770-358-5175.

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