expired coupons

My coupons were sent early in 2008, I did not buy my boxes before they expired because I could not find them, also was very confused about how & what to buy at that time, I cannot afford to pay full price for the boxes since I am low income, but none of my TV'S will work without them. why would the gov make them with a expire date in the first place when they sent them out so early??? People were not well informed at that time as to what they needed to do, as many people are still quite confused now less than a month before the BIG CHANGE is to take effect. the Gov has to accept the expired coupons in this case. How am I going to know if I will be allowed to use my expired coupons? Thank you Linda