March SNAP benefits to come early after government shutdown

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you use SNAP benefits, better known as food stamps, you should know the distribution schedule will change for March 2019. If you normally get your benefits loaded on to your card between the 7th and 20th of the month, you will get them on the 6th instead.

"It's very important, because we need help as much as possible," mom Ebonie Frazier said as she unloaded groceries in to her car outside Cash Saver in South Memphis. She's one of the people affected by the March 2019 change.

State officials say they are still trying to catch up from the altered schedule of SNAP payments caused by the government shutdown: February payments got loaded to SNAP cards as much as a month early, leaving some people in a bind.

"If they are getting them, they probably need them, without a doubt," one man said.

"It's very important, because we're not trying to lose it. But at the same time, I understand about the government shutting down and everything," Naseem Sabeha said.

Sabeha said the timing for SNAP benefits even impacts his parents' business.

"We have a store down the street, King Grocery. There's no more people coming in with stamps or anything," he said.

That's why the Tennessee Department of Human Services says it will release March benefits early, to try to catch people back up. If you normally get your benefits any day between the 7th and the 20th, you instead will them on the 6th.

"It'll help out since they doubled it up. It'll make a difference," Sabeha said.

But officials stress that SNAP users remember the next payments will still not come until April.

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