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DENVER — The Colorado Department of Human Services said Friday that it will be issuing February’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits early due to the partial government shutdown.

The department said the change could affect as many as 220,000 Colorado families.

SNAP recipients whose eligibility is due for re-certification at the end of January must submit the required documents by 12 p.m. Jan. 15 to receive food benefits for February. The Jan. 15 deadline is crucial because SNAP benefits will be issued on Jan. 20.

“We need folks to understand how important it is to act quickly so they won’t see a disruption in their benefits,” said Ki’i Powell, director of the state’s Office of Economic Security.

DHS said Colorado families receive about $55 million per month in SNAP benefits. The department clarified that the early release of benefits is not additional funding. It added that if the shutdown continues, benefits may not be available after February.

“Furloughed federal government employees who are in need are also encouraged to apply for SNAP,” the DHS statement said.

Finally, DHS encouraged people to donate funds or volunteer at local food banks and similar organizations that may see an influx of clients if the shutdown continues.