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Federal funding has been approved for a second month's worth of DSNAP benefits for Louisiana flood victims already receiving the assistance.
The Food and Nutrition Service program will provide the benefits for the "11 most severely affected parishes" from the flooding that began on August 11, 2016. Those parishes are:
- East Baton Rouge
- St. Helena
- St. Landry
- St. Martin
- West Feliciana
DSNAP recipients in the eligible 11 parishes can obtain replacement disaster EBT cards at any of the following locations effective immediately:
- Acadia Parish – 300 E. First St., Crowley, LA 70526
- Ascension Parish – 1078 E. Worthy Road, Gonzales, LA 70737
- East Baton Rouge Parish – 1919 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
- Lafayette Parish – 825 Kaliste Saloom Road, Brandywine Complex VI, Lafayette, LA 70508
- Livingston Parish – 28446 Charley Watts Road, Livingston, LA 70754
- St. Landry Parish – 6069 I-49 S. Service Road, Opelousas, LA 70570
- Tangipahoa Parish – 1211 NW Central Avenue, Amite, LA 70422
There will not be a second round of sign-ups for those not already participating in the assistance program, according to a spokesperson for Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DSNAP recipients will automatically have their benefits loaded onto their EBT cards no later than October 18.
"We're thankful that the federal government recognizes the need for additional assistance for those who are living in the hardest hit parishes," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement. "Another month of benefits will help ease some of their worries, and hopefully lessen their burdens as they continue to recover and rebuild."
During the second month, DCFS estimates 105,689 households will receive $42 million in benefits. Meanwhile, more than 72,000 current SNAP recipients will receive $11 million in supplemental assistance.
Recipients have up to a full year to used their benefits, after which they will expire.
Still, that leaves more than 17,000 households currently receiving DSNAP benefits that will not receive extra months during the second month.
"We recognize that there are a lot of people not in these parishes that are concerned about that and feel left out, and I'm terribly sorry for that," said DCFS Sec. Marketa Walters.
A total of 122,000 households in 21 parishes received DSNAP benefits after the flooding, totaling $48.9 million.
DCFS encourage those not receiving DSNAP to instead look to food banks for help or to consider signing up for regular SNAP.
"Right now their income in normal days might be considered a little too high, but their expenses are so great -- because of all the rebuilding and all the extra things they're having to pay for, like rental cars and contractors and sheetrock and new appliances, so we encourage them to apply for SNAP as a short-term intervention," Walters said.
DSNAP is fully funded by the federal government. The state is responsible for half of the costs of administering and distributing the benefits.
For questions or additional information, visit the DCFS website at www.dcfs.la.gov, or call 1-888-524-3578.