(KMOV.com) - Food stamp recipients are concerned about when they will receive their monthly benefits as various items fly off grocery store shelves due to COVID-19 worries.

News 4 viewer Danielle Mitchell, who is the mother of a 22-month-old and 13-year-old daughter, told News 4 she hopes food stamp benefits are paid out early given how many grocery store shelves are empty.

She receives her benefits on the 21st, some recipients get them even later in the month. They are paid based on date of birth and the first letter of a person's last name.

"I’m hoping the states will actually release the benefits early, if not, stores are going to close before they get the benefits... I'm totally worried about that," Mitchell said.

Grocery stores have not said anything about closing. But Mitchell worries the current circumstances could lead to more unknowns.

A spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Social Services said, “At this time, DSS does not anticipate change to the food stamp/SNAP benefit issuance timetable.”

Mitchell says she worries most about people that get them at the end of the month.

"I’m afraid if they get it later, food is not going to be there for them," she said.

Mitchell says the situation Americans are facing right now might be unprecedented, but she says receiving benefits early would not be.

"Last year when the government was shutting down, they released the benefits early for us and we were grateful for it," she said.

Food stamp benefits are federal dollars doled out to the states. News 4 reached out to Senator Josh Hawley's office about what his views were on the issue, which said that Hawley has voted to loosen food stamp requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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