(KLIX) – Because of the partial government shutdown, people who qualify for food stamps in February will receive them in January.

Households that were approved or re-evaluated by Jan. 15 will receive benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program this coming Sunday, Jan. 20, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Letters to recipients went in the mail Wednesday. Department staff also have been communicating with grocery stores and other community partners about the schedule change.

Not knowing how the shutdown could affect the program going forward, administrators urged people to budget carefully since the next scheduled benefits won't be available until March.

“This is a fluid time for federal government services,” Julie Hammon, administrator of the Division of Welfare, said in a statement. “Until we know more, please consider a donation to your local food banks and pantries – February will be tough month for many because of the length of time between benefits.”

The department said it will continue to accept and process applications normally through January and February.

For those with questions, call 211 or the Self Reliance call center at 877-456-1233.

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