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In Central Florida, an estimated 6,500 federal workers were affected by the shutdown that lasted 35 days. Nationally, we saw 800,000 federal workers struggle without pay for this time period, but when exactly will they receive their back pay, if at all?
The White House is estimating that some furloughed workers could start seeing their back pay early this week, and are hopeful that by end of the week everyone affected will receive their total back pay. However, this does not apply to all impacted by the shutdown. Contract workers are “among the lowest paid federal employees, earning between $450 and $650 per week” according to union leaders who spoke with The Washington Post.
These workers are currently in the recovery phase and paying late bills, including rent, loans and essentially treating it as a disaster.
Central Floridians that use SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, saw their February funds come through the third weekend in January. Due to the shutdown, there was only funding available through the month of February to fully fund SNAP, which costs approximately $4.8 billion to administer nationwide each month.
SNAP recipients are encouraged to be conscious of the early February funding and to budget as necessary. However, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said that there’s the chance of a “SNAP gap” between February’s distribution and when funds will be disbursed for the month of March. The Huffington Post stated that this will “result in beneficiaries stretching their SNAP dollars for as many as 50 days instead of the typical 28 to 31 days.”