LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - More than 212,000 families will receive their February allotment of federal aid to buy food earlier than normal, despite the partial federal government shutdown.
The State Human Services Department processed 12,000 new and 14,000 renewed SNAP applications in order for benefits to arrive on Jan. 20.
"Nearly 500 staff members worked over the weekend and into the late evening hours to conduct outreach and process the SNAP applications and renewals that came in to ensure New Mexico families get the food benefits they are eligible for," David R. Scrase, M.D., HSD Secretary–Designate said in a news release sent to ABC-7. "That shows the dedication this department has to New Mexico families who rely on our services to make ends meet each and every month."
Due to the shutdown, the SNAP program was not funded beyond Jan. 31.
HSD officials said in a news release that they wanted to minimize the impact of the shutdown by participating in a waiver option from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will provide an early issuance of the February benefits.
The SNAP program is available to families with income levels at or below 165% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For example, a family of four with a monthly income below $3,452 would likely qualify.