Federal Shutdown Affects Local Residents
What Recipients Need To Know
Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) : Colorado has received a portion of its FFY (Federal Fiscal Year) 2018· 19 federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) appropriation. The department estimates that funds currently available will operate programs and provide CCAP benefits until spring 2019.
Colorado Works Program: Colorado has received the first quarter of its FFY 2018-19 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) award and a portion of its Contingency Fund award. The department estimates that current funds will enable the program to be operated at least through June 2019.
Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP): Full funding is available to operate the LEAP program and issue benefits in FFY 2018-19. There is no anticipated impact to program operations in Colorado.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): WIC can continue to operate at the state and local level. Additional federal funds will not be provided during the shutdown but the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has stated that state agencies have sufficient funds to continue its operations and eligible households should continue to receive benefits through at least February.
WIC Benefits after February are still to be determined.
Other federal programs delivered by the City and County of Broomfield:
Child Support Services (CSS): Full funding to operate the Child Support Services program is available to states for FFY 2018-19. There is no impact to program operations in Colorado.
Child Welfare & Adult Protection Programs: The Department has received notice from its federal partners that funding for child welfare and Adult Protection services is available to states. There is no anticipated impact to program operations in Colorado.
As fallout from the nearly 30-day federal government shutdown permeates into all sectors of society, Broomfield families receiving federal food assistance should be taken care of through February.
Beyond that, it is unclear if money will be available for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
At the request of Ward 5 Councilwoman Guyleen Castriotta, Health and Human Services director Dan Casey gave an update on the status of Broomfield’s food assistance program in light of the ongoing government shutdown.
At last week’s council meeting, Casey explained how the benefits are 100 percent federally funded through the United States Department of Agriculture. His office is getting near-daily updates from the state, which is getting updates from the federal department.
“The good news is SNAP is considered an essential service,” Casey said at the Jan. 8 meeting.
He said HHS will look at allocations on a quarterly basis if the shutdown continues. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, also will be reasonably unaffected, Casey said, and the state and county has reserves that can be used.
On Monday, the city posted on its website that if a food assistance case is due for redetermination in January for February 2019 benefits, that certification information must be have submitted by no later than noon Tuesday. City employees were busy contacting those families Monday and Tuesday.
February benefits will issue to cards early — by Jan. 20. Benefits not issued by Jan. 20 may not be issued until after the shutdown has been resolved.
HHS officials said because of the early release of February benefits, residents should plan accordingly and wait until Feb. 1 to begin spending benefits.
No additional benefits will be issued for February, and benefits for March and beyond still are to be determined.
People who were due for redetermination, an evaluating process that typically takes place every six months, needed to get documents for that submitted early.
“For us in Broomfield, that was only about 100 families,” Casey said.
Roughly 1,500 Broomfield families, or about 3,500 individuals, receive approximately $215,000 per month in SNAP benefits.
About 220,000 Colorado families receive about $55 million per month in SNAP benefits.
The redetermination looks at life circumstances, including changes in income or household composition, and adjusts benefits according to state guidelines.
Casey said Broomfield’s benefits team has reached out to all of those families, either through phone calls or email, to alert them of the early deadline. The state sent text messages to those affected.
Families could have provided those documents by fax, over the phone, coming in for a face-to-face meeting, or going online to the PEAK system.
Dayna Scott, executive director of Broomfield FISH, said that since Friday — when the notification about the early deadline was first disseminated — a half dozen people have come into the nonprofit saying they are experiencing hardships because of the shutdown.
“Contrary to what some of our national leaders are saying — that it’s a vacation — these are folks who are saying ‘now I can’t pay my rent,’ or ‘I can pay rent, but I can’t afford food,’” Scott said. “We’re already seeing an increase in people coming to FISH reporting they’re furloughed and need help.”
People also are coming in confused about SNAP benefits and asking what they need to do, in which case FISH answered what they could and referred clients to HHS.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios