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USDA Provides 12 Hurricane-Hit Florida Counties with Additional SNAP Food Options

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2018 — As part of a continuing effort to provide relief from the effects of Hurricane Michael, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today that households in 12 Florida counties that may not normally be eligible for nutrition assistance under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may temporarily qualify for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits. Households may be eligible if they have qualifying disaster-related expenses and meet D-SNAP income limits.

“The road to recovery is going to be a long and difficult one,” said USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps. “We want to do everything we can to make this process easier. Helping people put food on their plate is one critical way we can do that.”

The timing and conditions of D-SNAP vary with the circumstances of each disaster, but the program always begins after access to retailers has been restored and families are able to purchase food to prepare at home. Before operating D-SNAP in an approved county, the state must ensure that conditions related to safety and readiness are in place.

If a household in the affected area qualifies for D-SNAP, they could receive one month of benefits to meet their food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. Households in the approved areas that already receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive disaster supplements, up to the maximum allotment for their household size, and do not need to apply for D-SNAP.

The program will operate in 12 counties: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington. Individuals and families who lived or worked in any of the counties on Oct. 8, 2018 and were impacted by the disaster are eligible to apply. The program may begin in some counties as early as Saturday, Oct. 27.

Affected households should look for public information notices from the state regarding the preregistration and application process, location of application sites, and dates of application in each county. Pre-registered households may choose a telephone interview instead of applying on site.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of steps taken to help residents cope with the effects of Hurricane Michael. In addition to previously announced actions, FNS is allowing Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) providers in 16 hurricane-affected Florida counties to temporarily serve meals that may not meet meal standard requirements. This approval is effective through November 21.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage America’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

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