With the federal government shutdown, SNAP benefits in New Mexico were scheduled to dry up at the end of January. The 455,000 New Mexicans who rely on the food assistance program would have been impacted.
The state’s Human Services Department will take advantage of a waiver option that was made available late Tuesday, Jan. 8, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and will be able to provide February’s benefits, according to Betina McCracken, spokesperson for HSD. They will have to be disbursed early though—before Jan. 20.
McCraken says it’s important for people to know that this money is not a double payment for January. It’s meant to last through February. That money will be available to people who are already approved for SNAP and who receive an ongoing benefit. Things are a little iffy for people applying for food stamps now, she says, though HSD is doing its best to minimize the impact here.
On average, New Mexican households get about $241 per month for food from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.