Massachusetts To Issue February SNAP Benefits Early

Food Stamps, Food Groceries

People receive free groceries at a food pantry run by the Food Bank For New York City on December 11, 2013 in New York City. The food bank distributes dry, canned and fresh food to needy residents and works with community-based member programs to provide some 400,000 free meals per day throughout New York City. Need increased in November when 47 million low-income people nationwide saw their food stamps cut as the federal SNAP program expired. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance has begun issuing February SNAP benefits to the vast majority of households who use the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The agency said Thursday that because of the partial federal government shutdown, about 93 percent of those receiving SNAP benefits should receive their February benefits by Jan. 20.

The agency cautioned those receiving the benefits early to spend them carefully so that they can last throughout the month. There will not be another SNAP benefit payment in February.

One in every nine people in Massachusetts including working families, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities receive SNAP benefits.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that one of his top concerns during the shutdown is making sure those receiving SNAP benefits aren't left without help.

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