PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Portsmouth's social services department said residents receiving or applying for SNAP benefits must have all paperwork turned in by Tuesday to ensure they will receive benefits in February.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday food stamp recipients will receive their full benefits for February, despite the government shutdown, according to an ABC News report.

The USDA said they will work with states to load benefits onto recipients' cards by Jan. 20.

Portsmouth social services officials sent out an email stating the USDA has asked states to "provide an early issuance of SNAP benefits for the month of February 2019."

In a news release, the USDA also pointed out that the benefits that are loaded onto recipients e-cards by January 20 have to last them all the way through February.

“We’re going to comply with what they asked us.” said the Director of Social Services for the city of Portsmouth, Pamela Little-Hill.

The Department of Social Services in Portsmouth will extend its hours to assist residents before the deadline.

“What we are always looking at when we’re planning strategically, is what is the most meaningful? What can we do to help?" said Little-Hill. “We just want to make it more convenient for people to run in and eliminate any amount of stress if possible.”

Food stamp recipients in Portsmouth can visit 1701 High Street on Monday and Tuesday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.  

SNAP recipient, Clarence Moore said,  “I’m glad I stopped because I had no idea.” 

He said being part of the program makes a huge impact on his life.

“It’s a blessing because you know a lot of the times what you get today is just not enough to make ends meet,” he said. “You just need every little bit that you can get to help out."

Officials said elderly and disabled persons should call B'Onka Hill at 757-405-1800, extension 8421.

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