PEORIA — The recent monthlong federal government shutdown will not delay the issuance of monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to eligible Illinois recipients. In fact, for some the benefits are coming earlier than usual.

March SNAP benefits will be loaded into customers’ accounts on March 1, according to the Illinois Department of Human Services.

“Our communities shouldn’t have to suffer because of the federal shutdown, and we’ll continue to do all we can at the state level so that Illinoisans don’t see a disruption in their SNAP benefits,” said Gov. JB Pritzker in prepared remarks. “Our plan will reduce the waiting time for benefits for SNAP recipients so our vulnerable residents won’t have to worry about whether the shutdown will prevent them from accessing these services.”

SNAP is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and distributed through the IDHS. Because of the way the USDA funded SNAP during the federal shutdown, February benefits were issued in January. These benefits are typically issued in February and intended for use in February.

To reduce the time in between February and March SNAP benefits, IDHS created a new SNAP issuance schedule for March and April. IDHS will be issuing all March benefits on March 1. Customers typically receive their SNAP benefits at different times during the month, so this will be on schedule for some SNAP customers and early for others. IDHS plans to issue April benefits between April 1 and April 10. May benefits will be on the regular schedule. March SNAP benefits were funded through a recent federal stopgap budget. However, April and May SNAP benefits will depend on a new federal budget deal being reached.

There is no need for customers to visit the local IDHS offices or call their caseworkers. IDHS staff will be working in the upcoming days to implement the necessary changes to issue benefits early. SNAP customers will receive the normal amount of monthly SNAP benefits on their Link cards, the debit-like cards used to spend SNAP benefits and other cash assistance.

IDHS will be working to communicate the new issuance dates to SNAP customers in the upcoming weeks through the IDHS website, Link website and phone line, a social media campaign and community outreach.

Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or shilyard@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottHilyard.