BOISE -- A new concern is growing in Idaho over the effects of the government shutdown. It involves the federal food stamp program, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The Idaho Foodbank tells us they're worried that funding for the program could be cut in November, if the shutdown continues.
The contingency plan for the U.S. Department of Agriculture only says the funding and operation of food stamps will continue through October.
Idaho Foodbank President Karen Vauk says it's a program that many local families depend on.
The food stamp program is a major safety net for those who are struggling with low income and food insecurity, said Vauk.
Here in Idaho, more than 220,000 families participate.
But, Vauk said she's worried about the future of those families if the government remains shutdown.
The Idaho Foodbank network cannot replace what's covered by the food stamp program, said Vauk.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says right now there's no word that the funding will stop next month.
If you call the main information line, a message says it's unlikely November benefits will be affected.
But the uncertainty of how the program would be funded next month is causing concern.
Some families will be in a position of being better prepared than others, there's more unknowns here than predictable outcomes, said Vauk.
And that's not the only hit to the already struggling families using food stamps.
The end of October marks the end of extra stimulus dollars for the program, meaning an average drop in benefits of 5 percent.
Any reduction when you are living on limited income, you feel it, we're hoping it will be something they can manage, said Vauk.
That reduction is a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expiring.
The Foodbank says they have already been planning for that decrease and have been helping families prepare.
Vauk tells us that the food stamp program costs about $6 billion each month.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's website says they only have $2 billion available as contingency funding.