Some people will receive March SNAP benefits early

LINCOLN, Neb. - We aren't even halfway through February and already, many people say they are already out of SNAP benefits for the month.

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Due to the government shutdown earlier in the year, the Department of Health and Human Services sent out February's benefits on Jan. 20, 11 days early.

Heather Mae Truax said she is struggling to make it to the end of the month.

"It sucks. because I'm starving basically," Truax said.

Truax is one of many who are turning to local food banks to help make ends meet until they get their March benefits.

"I'm already out of food stamps," Truax said. "The last thing I've got is right there that just cooked for me some chicken and warm noodles."

Food pantries like Matt Talbot Kitchen say they have seen more people this month than normal, but expect the end of the month to be even busier.

"Right now we're okay, but these pantry shelves could be empty in two days and we'll need to reach out for help," said Sara Sunderman, Outreach Coordinator for Matt Talbot Kitchen.

DHHS says help is on the way, for both food pantries and those that rely on SNAP benefits.

"We are going to issue our entire issuance on March 1 instead of being staggered from March 1 to March 5," said Karen Heng, Deputy Director of the Division of Family Services. "We think this will help get people their money in hand faster and food on the table."

Though it's only a few days early, Matt Talbot Kitchen says every day matters.

"Those two to three days, or really three to five days make a big difference for some folks," Sunderman said. "When you're in survival mode, you do what you can, but it's one day at a time."

DHHS has also partnered up with local food banks to make sure they have enough food to help people who have run out of their benefits. They also visit the pantries a few times a week to help educate people on how to make their benefits stretch.