Millions could lose food assistance benefits if government shuts down

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Monday, September 28, 2015

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Millions of people may lose food assistance benefits if the federal government does not avoid a shutdown.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and other Illinois state lawmakers met at the Greater Chicago Food Depository Monday to talk about the impact a shutdown would have on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Durbin says the program won't be able to run for very long if there is a government shutdown.

"The last time Senator Cruz shut down the government, the president had a stimulus reserve to cover it," Sen. Durbin said. "That's no longer the case. We have two weeks in the bank to keep making benefit payments."

Approximately 45 million Americans receive SNAP benefits, including 2 million in Illinois. In Illinois, nearly 68 percent of SNAP participants are families with children.