MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is going to be issuing February food stamp benefits early because of the partial federal government shutdown.

The Vermont Department for Children and Family will be issue the benefits, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT, on Jan. 20.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture pays the benefits through its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The USDA says it can continue to make the payments through February.

The state is urging recipients to plan for the early payment and budget accordingly.

The state says Vermonters who are in the process of applying for benefits need to complete interviews with officials from the Economic Services Division by Tuesday.

DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz says his agency is committed to ensuring that 3SquaresVT recipients and new applicants get their February benefits.

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