Last Friday, President Trump and leaders of both chambers reached a deal to end the longest shutdown in our history. Here’s a rundown of what it means for federal workers and SNAP recipients now that the government is back up and running.
What does this mean for federal workers who were furloughed?
In Central Florida, an estimated 6,500 federal workers were affected by the shutdown that lasted 35 days. Nationally, we saw 800,000 federal workers struggle without pay for this time period, but when exactly will they receive their back pay, if at all?
The White House is estimating that some furloughed workers could start seeing their back pay early this week, and are hopeful that by end of the week everyone affected will receive their total back pay.
However, this does not apply to all impacted by the shutdown. Contract workers are “among the lowest paid federal employees, earning between $450 and $650 per week” according to union leaders who spoke with The Washington Post 1.
These workers are currently in the recovery phase and paying late bills, including rent, loans and essentially treating it as a disaster.
What about families that use SNAP?
Central Floridians that use SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, saw their February funds come through the third weekend in January. Due to the shutdown, there was only funding available through the month of February to fully fund SNAP, which costs approximately $4.8 billion to administer nationwide each month.
SNAP recipients are encouraged to be conscious of the early February funding and to budget as necessary. However, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said that there’s the chance of a “SNAP gap” between February’s distribution and when funds will be disbursed for the month of March. The Huffington Post stated that this will “result in beneficiaries stretching their SNAP dollars for as many as 50 days instead of the typical 28 to 31 days” 2.
What Can I Do to Help?
If you are recovering and need assistance, visit www.feedhopenow.org/shutdownrelief to find the nearest feeding partner or community resource near you.
Donations are always welcome, both monetary and food items, to assist in the recovery of the federal workers and prepare for the “SNAP gap” of the estimated 710,000 Central Floridians who are recipients.
Volunteers are also needed to sort and pack donations, stock shelves and help ensure food is ready to be distributed out into the community as it is needed during the shutdown recovery.