Washington officials said this week that recipients of the federal food stamp program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will receive February benefits by Sunday. This is a workaround by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure minimal disruption to benefits.

SNAP recipients normally see their monthly food benefits arrive on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT cards) anywhere from the first of the month to the 20th. In Washington, 75 percent of people who receive benefits don’t receive other cash assistance, a news release said.

The state urges people who receive February benefits early to budget carefully.

“Some recipients — those who get their benefits on the 20th of each month, for example — will be going two months between SNAP disbursements,” said Babs Roberts, DSHS community services division director. “People will want to ensure that the benefits they are receiving now last as long as possible.”

About 24 percent of Yakima County households receive SNAP benefits, according to the Food Research and Action Center.

The early distribution is within 30 days of the expiration date of the last funding bill.