Disaster food stamps approved in 11 parishes - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Disaster food stamps approved in 11 parishes

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Information from GOHSEP:

BATON ROUGE, LA - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) announced Monday the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service has approved the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) in 11 parishes - Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and St. Charles.

The program, formerly called Disaster Food Stamps, provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.

To help expedite the application process, individuals should pre-apply for DSNAP prior to Wednesday either online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preapply or www.getagameplan.org or by calling 1-888-LAHELP-U (888-524-3578) between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. When applying by phone, callers should select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3.

The following information is required for DSNAP pre-application:

Names, Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth for each household member;
Address and Parish where you currently live;
Monthly income for each household member; and
All liquid resources for each household member (cash on hand, checking, savings).

Individuals in the approved parishes who pre-applied for DSNAP must visit a DSNAP issuance site at a time to be determined to verify their identity and information to decide final eligibility before receiving benefit cards. Pre-applying does not guarantee benefits and pre-applicants must go to a DSNAP site to complete the process.

The deadline for DSNAP benefits is September 11 in Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans and St. John Parishes. The deadline for Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany is September 12.  The deadline for Tangipahoa and St. Charles is September 15.

Regular SNAP households DO NOT need to pre-apply. Households that receive regular SNAP benefits in parishes where DSNAP has been activated will automatically have additional DSNAP benefits added to their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards if they are not already receiving the maximum allotment for their household size.

DCFS will open DSNAP sites beginning on Wednesday, September 5 through September 11th from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following sites:

Ascension Parish - Lamar Dixon Expo Center, 9039 St. Landry Rd., Gonzales
Jefferson Parish - Alario Center, 2000 Segnette Blvd., Westwego
Lafourche Parish - Peltier Park, 151 Peltier Park, Thibodaux
Livingston Parish - Amvets, 26890 Hwy. 42, Springfield
Orleans Parish - University of New Orleans, 6801 Franklin Ave., New Orleans
St. John - New Wine Christian Church, 1929 W. Airline Hwy., LaPlace

Applicants should go on the following days, based on their last name:

Wednesday, September 5

A through C

Thursday, September 6

D through G

Friday, September 7

H through L

Saturday, September 8

M through R

Sunday, September 9

S through Z

Monday, September 10

All applicants unable to
make prior scheduled day

Tuesday, September 11

All applicants unable to
make prior scheduled day

In St. Charles and Tangipahoa Parishes, sites will be open in Boutte and Amite from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from September 9 through September 15.  Due to limited parking at both locations, a shuttle service will run continuously each day until it is determined that no new applicants can be served before 6pm.

Tangipahoa and St. Charles shuttle locations:

  • Tangipahoa Parish - Harvest Church, 43052 Yokum Rd., Hammond
  • Tangipahoa Parish - Florida Parish Arena, 1301 NW Central Ave., Amite
  • St. Charles Parish - Parking area on LA 1 at Hwy 310 under the Luling Bridge.

Applicants in Tangipahoa and St. Charles should go to the sites on the day indicated below, based on the first letter of their last name.

Sunday, Sept. 9 S through Z
Monday, Sept. 10 A through C
Tuesday, Sept. 11 D through G
Wednesday, Sept. 12 H through L
Thursday, Sept. 13 M through R
Friday, Sept. 14 All applicants unable to make prior scheduled day
Saturday, Sept. 15 All applicants unable to make prior scheduled day

Locations will be posted at www.dcfs.la.gov and will be available by calling 211 or 1-888-LAHELP-U.

Applicants may name an Authorized Representative to go to a DSNAP site on their behalf. Accommodations will be made for the elderly and those with disabilities to reduce on-site wait times.

An estimated 288,155 households could be eligible for DSNAP benefits in the nine declared parishes. Another 115,262 households who already receive regular SNAP benefits will have the disaster benefits automatically added to their EBT cards. Only households who resided in the nine parishes at the time of the disaster are eligible for DSNAP.

DCFS has released federal guidelines in use for the state's Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) following Hurricane Isaac.

The formula adds together monthly household income, as well as liquid resources like checking and savings accounts. It then subtracts unreimbursed disaster-related expenses to arrive at an adjusted gross monthly income. The upper limit of adjusted gross monthly income differs based on family size.

Household Size

Disaster Gross Monthly Income limit

1

$1,503

2

$1,815

3

$2,126

4

$2,449

5

$2,787

6

$3,124

On average, a family of four can have an adjusted gross monthly income of no more than $2,449 to be eligible for DSNAP.

Unreimbursed disaster-related expenses might include things like evacuation costs, such as a hotel stay, purchase of a generator, cost of rebuilding a fence or repairs to a home. Federal guidelines state that the expense must be paid within the benefit period, which for Hurricane Isaac is August 26 through September 25.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services requested and received approval of a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service to allow the purchase of hot foods with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) and Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) benefits for the month of September.

Normally, federal regulations define eligible food purchases with SNAP or DSNAP benefits as "any food or food product intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption."

DCFS requested a waiver specific to the exception in the definition of eligible foods in order to allow the purchase of hot foods and hot food products with SNAP benefits for a limited time due to the impact of Hurricane Isaac.

The waiver was necessary to avoid undue hardship for Louisiana citizens affected by Hurricane Isaac because many residents have evacuated to other parts of the state and because continuing power outages prevent households from cooking.

Approximately 388,867 regular SNAP households and all households approved for DSNAP in the coming week would be eligible to purchase hot foods with their benefits under the waiver.

The waiver has been approved through September 30, 2012.

FNS also has sent a notice to retailers to inform them of the waiver of the hot foods exception.

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