Mainers who receive SNAP benefits will find their February benefits will be available on Friday.

Governor Janet Mills said in a statement this week that individuals and families who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will receive their February benefits early to help them avoid being affected by the partial federal government shutdown.

"If the shutdown continues past February," the governor said in a statement, "180,000 Maine families, including thousands of children, seniors, and veterans, could be affected over the coming months."

Mills went on to urge the federal government to end the shutdown immediately, before it causes any further harm. Acting DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew encouraged SNAP recipients to budget carefully, because no further benefits will be paid in February, so they'll have to make this week's benefits last.

SNAP is a federal program that's administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and provides nutrition assistance to eligible low-income individuals and their families. Approximately 180,000 Maine residents participated in the SNAP program last year, which boils down to one in every seven residents. More than 61% of those are in families with children and almost 49% are in families with members who are elderly or disabled.

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