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Government Temporarily Reopened 
January 28, 2019

As you likely saw on Friday afternoon, President Trump announced a tentative deal with congressional leaders to re-open the federal government. The deal, which will fund the government through February 15 while a longer-term spending deal is negotiated, is expected to include back pay for federal workers.

While this is good news, we are not out of the woods entirely. There are still concerns regarding the shutdown’s lingering effects, as well as the looming possibility of another shutdown beginning on February 15 if a deal is not made.

There are also some unknowns that we are still facing during this time, but the Advocacy team is still monitoring this situation as it continues to evolve. As we learn more, we will be sure to update you.

Currently, this is what we know:

Federal Employees:

  • Federal employees are expected to receive back pay for their time while the government was shut down. It may be as soon as this week, but currently it is unknown when they will be receiving their pay.
    • Federal contractors will NOT be receiving any back pay.
  • Though Federal employees will be receiving back pack, as well as their regularly scheduled paycheck on February 8, they will still likely be facing lingering effects of going unpaid for 35 days. It is anticipated that many of them will continue to need assistance to make ends meet until they can get back on to their feet.
SNAP:
  • With the USDA reopening and being funded for this time, we are hopeful that there will be funding for March benefits. Currently we do not have confirmation of that, however. We are closely monitoring this situation because the loss of SNAP would be devastating to our service area.
  • As we continue to look into the future of SNAP, we also must not forget that February benefits were distributed almost two weeks early for many families. If/when March benefits are distributed, many families would have been living on their four weeks of SNAP for 5-6 weeks. This “SNAP Gap” may cause significant financial strain for SNAP participants.
  • Along with the early distribution, there had been a number of rumors and misinformation within the community. One that had been heard in our area, as well as across the nation, is that SNAP recipients had to spend their SNAP dollars BEFORE February 1, which is NOT true. We have a SNAP FAQ document that dispels that rumor, feel free to share!

Increased Need:

  • Due to the financial strain placed upon federal workers, as well as the disruptions to SNAP, it is anticipated that there will still be increased need in the near future.
  • Our network will continue to be here to help anyone in need, and that may mean we have to be prepared to help a little more for the time being, as federal workers get back on their feet, and SNAP recipients get back on their normal SNAP distribution schedule.

TEFAP:

  • The USDA is funded and will be reopening during this three week reprieve from the shutdown. We are currently unsure as to the size of the backlog that was created by the shutdown and what, if any, affect it will have on our ability to place new orders for TEFAP. 
Resources:

The Food Bank had launched a Government Shutdown resource page on our website last week: https://solvehungertoday.org/government-shutdown/. We know that federal employees may not have had to rely on the Food Bank or a food pantry before, so it’s important to provide them with details including what to expect when using our services, myths and facts about visiting a food pantry, how to find their local pantries, and how to find a mobile pantry in order to make them feel comfortable and confident in receiving help from us and our network. Even though the government has been reopened at this time, we will be keeping it up as a resource for anyone working on regaining their footing after the last month.
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Northern Illinois Food Bank
Teresa Schryver  
Advocacy and Awareness Specialist
Northern Illinois Food Bank
T: 630-443-6910 ext. 160   E: tschryver@northernilfoodbank.org  www.solvehungertoday.org

                
Copyright © 2019 Northern Illinois Food Bank - Advocacy Team, All rights reserved.


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