As concern grows over the availability of Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits during the current federal government shutdown, news regarding benefits for the month of February has been made available. Earlier this week, Pitt County Social Services Director, Jan Elliott, was made aware that FNS benefits for the month of February will post to benefit cards on Sunday, January 20, 2019.
In a January 11 press release issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), it was noted that “benefits would normally be available to families between the 3rd and 21st of February.” However, due to the federal shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture “instructed states to issue February’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits by Sunday, Jan. 20.”
FNS is a federal food assistance program that provides low-income families with funds to purchase food needed for a nutritional, adequate diet. Pitt County, along with all other counties in the state, have been working closely with NCDHHS, as they work with federal partners to ensure minimal, if any interruption of FNS services due to the shutdown. Once February’s FNS funds are distributed, they will be available for use. However, participants should be aware that since there will be no FNS benefits issued in the month of February, they should plan accordingly.
Sufficient funds are projected to be available through the month of February, for several programs in addition to FNS; including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC). In the event the federal shutdown continues however, funding for these services could run out after February. For more information on Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) benefits, go to https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/food-nutrition-services-food-stamps. To read the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services press release in full, visit: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/february-food-and-nutrition-benefits-be-issued-early-because-federal-shutdown.