Deadline to renew SNAP food benefits moved up to Jan. 14.


An important announcement regarding SNAP benefits was made by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, and should be noted by all SNAP recipients.

Most pressing for some is that the deadline to renew SNAP benefits or file a 6-month Simplified Report form for those needing to for February has been moved up, to Monday night, Jan. 14, at 11:59. For those who receive SNAP benefits, but have not received a renewal notice (or notice to file the Simplified Report form), February benefits will come much earlier than usual, but it could be as long as two months -- or longer -- before you will receive any additional benefits, so make it last.

Due to the ongoing federal government shutdown, over 95 percent of the Food and Nutrition Services office at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP benefits and other food programs, is now on furlough -- meaning sent home and shut down. Previously arranged funding for many programs is running out, and continuing funding is in question so long as the federal government remains shut down.

An initial announcement by the USDA said SNAP benefits would be available for January, but there was no commitment to February. The most recent guidance to the TDHS is that funds are available for February SNAP funds -- but there is a catch.

All SNAP benefit funds for February must be disbursed to recipients by Jan. 20, rather than the normal date they would go out in February. According to TDHS, SNAP recipients typically see their monthly benefits arrive on their EBT cards the same day each month, anywhere from the first of the month to the 20th depending on their Social Security number. February SNAP benefits are expected to arrive on or before January 20, for all customers.

TDHS is reminding the more than 900,000 Tennesseans who depend on SNAP that these benefits are the only funds they should expect until at least March - which for most will likely require budgeting.

“Budgeting these early SNAP funds is especially important to those who receive their benefits towards the middle or end of the month,” said TDHS Press Secretary Sky Arnold. “We do not know how long the shutdown will last. Even if the government shutdown ends in February, individuals still won’t receive their March SNAP benefits until their standard disbursement date. Some customers could go up to two months in between SNAP dispersals.”

This will be the only distribution of SNAP benefits until further notice. USDA officials have not yet committed to SNAP disbursements in March.

Other non-SNAP domestic food programs are no longer receiving federal funding at all, but may be may be provided for through state and local funding. Programs no longer receiving USDA funds include the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program focusing on low income seniors, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, popularly known as “WIC.”

If you are a SNAP recipient that has received notification to renew your SNAP benefits or to provide a simplified reporting form, it is important that you provide the necessary information to TDHS by Monday, Jan. 14 to ensure you receive SNAP benefits, if eligible, for February.

According to TDHS, if you have already submitted your needed documents for renewal or simplified reporting, no other action is necessary.

If you haven’t renewed yet, you can upload your needed documents online at Begin by logging on or creating an online DHS account and then follow the prompts to do a “Family Assistance File Upload.”

Documentation must be uploaded by 11:59 p.m. local time, Monday, Jan. 14, to be considered on-time for February or beyond benefits.

You can also submit your needed documents to a DHS office. Offices in Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Montgomery, Rutherford, Shelby, and Washington counties will be open until 6:30 p.m. on Monday to receive simplified reporting forms and renewal documents.