EBT CardFederal regulations require that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits be provided on or around the same date every month and that a State must ensure that a participating household does not go more than 40 days between benefit issuances. As a result of the partial shutdown of the federal government, the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) required that February SNAP benefits be made available early. In Ohio, ongoing February benefits were made available to affected households on January 16, 2019.

While issuing the benefits early ensured that there was adequate funding for February benefits, it had the consequence of extending the number of days between the last issuance in January and the next issuance in March 2019. Without additional intervention, depending on a household’s availability date, that gap would range between 44 and 59 days. In recognition of the gap, FNS issued guidance to States that they must develop a plan to mitigate the impact of the early issuance by shortening the interval between February and March issuances.

Ohio’s mitigation plan will adjust the March benefit issuance schedule. Eligible SNAP clients will receive half of their March benefit on February 22, 2019, and the rest of the benefit will be issued on the client’s normal March issuance date. This plan ensures that no household will go more than 40 days since its last issuance in January or more than 40 days until its next issuance in March.          

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