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State moves to shorten "SNAP gap" as federal shutdown impacts continue

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

The state is taking steps to shorten the “SNAP gap” some residents could experience as a result of the recent government shutdown.


The state Division of Social Services (DSS) plans to issue next month’s SNAP benefits to all clients on March 4 — rather than staggering them over a three week period as usual.

February’s SNAP benefits were issued Jan. 17 because of the partial government shutdown. But some recipients were not scheduled to receive March benefits until the end of next month — up to 64 days after they last received benefits.

DSS Director Ray Fitzgerald says the change to March issuance is a response to federal guidance.“They asked each state to come up with a plan. And our plan was to issue the next set of benefits on the 4th, so there won’t be another stagger. Everybody gets their benefits in Delaware on the 4th.”

Fitzgerald says state officials are working to get news of the change out to recipients through several channels. “The retail community, we’ve reached out, and we made them aware of the new issuance dates. And we’re working on a flyer with them so they can all have a consistent message,” he said.


Fitzgerald adds DSS is also working with retailers and the Food Bank of Delaware to set up additional food drives — to help families fill in any gap. The Food Bank of Delaware is also hosting several mobile food pantries this month.

More than 136,000 Delawareans rely on the federal food assistance program SNAP, according to DSS.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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