Flood victims encouraged to register for disaster assistance benefits

Flood victims encouraged to register for disaster assistance benefits
SNAP card (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As many across the state slowly recover from devastating flood waters, disaster assistance is one step closer to becoming reality for Louisiana households.

Sammy Guillory, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, said staff will work through the weekend to make sure everything is in place.

"We're going to try to open all of our sites Monday, March 21 and operate through Saturday. March 26," Guillory said.

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) benefits will apply to anyone living in the parishes covered under the disaster declaration who needs help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following the flooding. The program does not cover those who already receive regular SNAP benefits.

"If they've been impacted and lost food or had some kind of adverse effect we are here to help them with their food assistance," Guillory added.

While the program is designed to help, there are stipulations.

"We cannot use it for alcohol, tobacco, paper products like paper towels or paper plates, anything like that," Guillory said.

The benefits only apply to food so using them for a haircut or any other service is prohibited.

Also there are guidelines on exactly who will qualify. During an interview process, agents will assess an applicant's net household income, add up any liquid resources including checking or savings accounts and subtract any disaster related expenses.

The final number must fall within a certain range to be eligible.

Guillory encourages those interested to pre-register online where they will provide information like name, date of birth and income.

"I cannot stress the importance of the pre-registration because when they get to the site all of that information will be in the system and we just have to update any changes they may have," he added.

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