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EBT community came together to meet early SNAP issuance demand, necessitate by the government shutdown

 EBT community came together to meet early SNAP issuance demand, necessitate by the government shutdown 

The EBT community is a public-private partnership of government agencies and companies that design, develop, implement and operate the complex systems that deliver food nutritional assistance to eligible persons each month. This includes, among other things, identifying eligible recipients, issuing debit cards used to obtain food at authorized food retailers, keeping the system free of waste, fraud and abuse, containing costs, and issuing the eligible SNAP food, promulgating and observing federal regulations designed to allow the system to operate seamlessly.

The EBT community is comprised of the Food and Nutrition Service of the Agriculture Department, state agencies that administer the SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program) on a state level, the EBT transaction processors, vendors that provide some of the hardware and software required to build the state EBT systems, consultants who advise the state agencies and the companies and advocacy groups representing the interests of SNAP beneficiaries and food retailers authorized to issue SNAP benefits.

The government shutdown made it necessary to issue February SNAP benefits early, in order to reduce the amount of time that eligible families would be without the benefit.

Once the decision was made to allow early issuance, the EBT community quickly jumped into action, working seamlessly to get the food to those who needed it. Disparate groups worked as one and got the food to those who needed it.

The EBT community is represented by the eGovernment Payments Council, a service of the venerable Electronic Funds Transfer Association or EFTA. EFTA advocates for replacing paper processes in payments with electronic processes which are generally more secure and cost-efficient. Chaddsford Planning Associates was a founding member of the eGovernment Payments Council.

Council members who are employed by government agencies did not participate in any policy discussion regarding this issue or in any other discussion involving public policy.