BOISE, Idaho — The shutdown of the federal government, now in its fourth week, is spurring a change to how Idahoans will receive next month's allotment of food stamps, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says. 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for February will be dispersed Sunday, Jan. 20. 

Everyone who is eligible for SNAP benefits in February will receive them, the department stressed. However, because that money is being dispersed early on Jan. 20, the next round of benefits won't come until March.

RELATED:  USDA: Food stamps will be funded through February

That could be a stretch for some families, IDHW spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr said. Because SNAP money is typically dispersed in the first ten days of the month - depending on the beneficiary's birth year - some people could be going as long as fifty days before their next installment of food stamps. 

The department is urging people to plan their grocery budgets carefully to ensure their SNAP benefits last until March. If families' food and SNAP money runs out, Forbing-Orr said, many people will be turning to the Idaho Food Bank and local food pantries for help. 

MORE: Idaho Foodbank helps keep food on the table

“This is a fluid time for federal government services,” said Julie Hammon, administrator of the Division of Welfare. “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.”

Anyone with questions about SNAP benefits or the early issuance can call the Idaho CareLine by dialing 2-1-1 in Idaho or the Self-Reliance call center at 1-877-456-1233.