Government Shut Down Could End Florida Food Stamps

TALLAHASSEE, Florida —  There may be no treats come this Halloween for Florida Food Stamp recipients. That's because benefit payments are projected to end on October 31st, 2013 due to lack of federal funding caused by the U.S. government shut down.

A State of Florida budget analysis performed for the Florida Senate stated that federal funding for Florida’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) expired with the rest of the farm bill on September 30, 2013.  To bridge this funding gap, the federal Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will use its authority under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to continue operations and benefit payments to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards (also known as Food Stamps) only through October 31, 2013.

Federal funding for cash payments to welfare recipients, known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), also expired September 30, 2013.  The Florida Senate budget analysis stated that this program now lacks federal authorization and funding.

According to the recent U.S. Government revised data from SNAP, the number of Floridians on food stamps was 3,568,672 in June 2013, a 4.4% increase compared to June 2012. Florida food stamp enrollment grew at twice the national rate (2.3%) for the same time period.

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