¬†Georgia’s Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) is making alternative arrangements for those who receive food stamps while the federal government shutdown continues. DFCS has released the February allotment of food stamp benefits early to all Georgia residents.

In statement released on Tuesday, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials made the decision to protect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants access and announced that food stamp recipients will have access to their full benefits for February, even if the partial government shutdown continues.

DFCS says the USDA is working with states to load benefits onto recipients’ cards by Jan. 20, under a provision that allows them to award the benefits.

DFCS says Georgia SNAP recipients can now access their February benefits via their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards and do not have to wait until their regularly-scheduled issuance date for the month.

Georgia DFCS says it worked over the weekend with its EBT vendor, Conduent, and with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to provide early issuance of February benefits for all SNAP recipients.

The move was made in an effort to ensure families are fully prepared to purchase food in the event that the partial government shutdown is not resolved before current funding for the program is exhausted.