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Arkansas to issue February food stamps early due to shutdown

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Human Services says it will distribute February's food stamp benefits early as a result of the partial government shutdown.

The agency says those eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, will begin receiving the February benefits on Jan. 17. DHS says this is not an additional payment and that recipients won't receive another payment until March, if the program is funded by then.

Last week, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told states to issue the February benefits early.

Nearly 40 million Americans are enrolled in the program, including more than 150,000 households in Arkansas. DHS says about $40 million in SNAP assistance is distributed to eligible participants in Arkansas each month.