Now that the federal government shutdown is over, for now, there will be no interruption of services for Nye County residents who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP.
Formerly known as the food stamp program, SNAP helps low-income individuals and families buy the food they need, by way of monthly allotments, based on their income.
State of Nevada Social Services Program Specialist Julie Balderson said the government shutdown forced the agency to disburse funding earlier usual due to the uncertainty of the situation.
“We have 9,760 recipients in Nye County,” Balderson said. “Instead of Friday, Feb. 1st, they received their benefits on Sunday, Jan. 20, which actually replaced the February 1st payment. We do it on an EBT card and they get that money on the 1st of every month, but this month is different.”
Balderson also spoke about the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program also administered by the agency, which provides assistance such as child care, transportation and additional services for dependent children in their own homes or in the homes of relatives and caregivers.
“Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is administered through a different mechanism,” she said. “Actually, the state is allowed to keep a reserve fund for that. Right now, we are working off of a reserve instead of doing our normal federal drawdown. It works just a little bit differently but right now, our TANF recipients are not affected.”
Though the partial shutdown did not directly affect operations at the Pahrump office, Balderson provided her thoughts on the situation.
“I personally am looking forward to it being finalized for good,” she said. “We have received calls from families who are concerned about what’s going on and we have responded to those inquiries through our customer service line. Personally, I think I have heard from more reporters than recipients regarding the matter.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @pvtimes
In case you missed it
See the Jan. 30 edition of the Pahrump Valley Times for an update on how the government shutdown affected Death Valley National Park in our region.