Partial Federal Government Shutdown Affecting SNAP Benefits Locally


The partial federal government shutdown is having a trickle-down effect in the state of Virginia regarding SNAP benefits.  Sarah Rexrode, Director with the Highland County Department of Social Services, explains more about the changes people can expect locally with the food-purchasing assistance program.

Ms. Rexrode says, “SNAP benefits are formerly known as food stamps.  SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and it is a supplemental food program for low-income individuals and families.  In Highland County, we currently do not have a work requirement related to the receipt of SNAP benefits, so it’s an income-based eligibility program.  Due to the partial federal government shutdown, SNAP benefits for the month of February will actually be issued to all Virginia residents who receive SNAP on January 17th.  There will not be funds available in February for the SNAP program at this point.  As we receive further guidance from the Virginia Department of Social Services, we will keep folks updated to the best of our ability.  At this point, we are encouraging households to properly plan for food needs in the month of February.  If you currently receive SNAP benefits, you will not get an issuance in February.  Your February issuance will occur at midnight, January 17th.

“If you have any questions or want further information, you can contact your SNAP Worker, Mallory Brower, at the Highland County Department of Social Services.  She can be reached at 540-468-2199.”

Ms. Rexrode also provides information on another local resource for those who may need it.  She continues, “If you find that you get in to the month of February, and you are in need of food items, you can contact the local food bank at Word of Faith Church.  We have notified them of the early issuance and that folks will not be getting benefits during the month of February, so they are aware and prepared to take on any extra customers they may receive.”

For more information on the Word of Faith Food Pantry, people can contact Jeff and Susan Grant at 540-396-4833.

For the full press release from the Virginia Department of Social Services on this topic, you can visit the online link to this story posted at

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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