Government Shutdown – Partner Agency Resources
You may see federal employees who have been furloughed needing your services while the shutdown is in place. For TEFAP participating agencies: while these patrons may exceed the income guidelines for TEFAP, they are experiencing an emergency situation that affects their food security, and under your agreement with the USDA, you can serve with TEFAP product. (This statement appears directly under the income grid on the eligibility form.)
- USDA will provide full funding for February SNAP (food supplement/food stamp) benefits. States are also still able to accept SNAP applications and enroll eligible participants for February benefits. Maine DHHS will disburse February benefits to participants on January 17. This means that participants will need to stretch their benefits from late January into March. We ask you to please be aware that, as we get into February, SNAP participants in your community may be reaching out for help if they have exhausted their SNAP assistance. If the shutdown lasts into February, we will be in touch with additional guidance about March.
- People can still apply for SNAP or recertify their eligibility during the shutdown. ME DHHS is still processing new applications and recertifications until further notice. People can use the My Maine Connection site to apply for SNAP.
- Federal Nutrition Services has identified resources to cover projected expenses for the WIC program through February, as well.
- Child Nutrition Programs operations, including school meals and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), have secure funding through March.
- Food deliveries for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and distributions of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) planned for February will continue as scheduled.
Unfortunately, we don’t know when the federal government will resume operation; for now, we are not facing a food insecurity crisis among SNAP participants.
Several of you have made public statements to community members or special posts on social media or your website to let federal employees know you’re available and ready to serve. (Examples of two communications can be viewed by clicking here and here.) In addition to the help you can provide, we’d like to remind you of the 2-1-1 program and encourage you to refer those who need resources beyond food to this state-wide help line. (Dial 2-1-1 from anywhere in Maine, 24 hours a day, to speak with a call specialist.)
If you would like to follow news from the USDA, you can sign up to receive their press releases and emails here.
We will continue to keep you updated as we learn new information. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns please reach out to us, and we will do our best to support you as you support your communities!