Officials fear SNAP recipients spending early benefits too quickly
BATON ROUGE - At Bet-R grocery store off Perkins Road, management is trying to send an important message. Signs put at each of the registers are asking SNAP beneficiaries to budget their money for this month and next.
"Due to the government shutdown there was a pot of money that was available but it was only available through Jan 20, so we were directed to issue as many February benefits as early as possible," explained Sammy Guillory with the Department of Children and Family Services.
DCFS noticed that recipients were not being so frugal after receiving their February benefits early--benefits totaling $88.5 million, about $20 million less than an average month.
"We do monitor the rate of expenditures of the SNAP benefits and we did notice that right after we issued the early benefits that the amount of expenditures had increased significantly," said Guillory.
Managers at Bet-R say people have been using their EBT cards much more than usual, particularly on meats. It's the same case at Hi-Neighbor.
DCFS says not only do recipients need to make their benefits last though February, they may have to use them in March as well.
"We're hoping that they receive their benefits in March. The government is shut down. We still do not have authorization to issue March benefits," said Guillory.