WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that low-income Louisiana residents recovering from Hurricane Laura could be eligible for a helping hand from the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that households who may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may qualify for D-SNAP – if they meet the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.
“This Administration is committed to ensuring that the people of Louisiana can get the food they need as they recover from the hurricane’s damage and disruption,” Perdue said. “D-SNAP will provide additional support for our neighbors in the Bayou State. We’re with them now and will be throughout the recovery.”
To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live in one of the parishes designated by President Trump as eligible for Federal Individual Assistance on August 28, 2020, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Eligible households will receive one month of benefits – equal to the maximum amount for a SNAP household of their size – that they can use to purchase groceries at SNAP-authorized stores to meet their temporary food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. The state will operate D-SNAP for 16 parishes in two phases – one beginning this week, and the other next week. Operations will be entirely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Louisiana will share information about D-SNAP application dates and locations through local media.
The timing of D-SNAP varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster, Perdue said, but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP, a state must ensure that the proper public information, staffing, and resources are in place.
Although current SNAP households are not eligible for D-SNAP, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, USDA has already approved emergency allotments for Louisiana. Therefore, ongoing SNAP households have already received the maximum allotment for their household size for the month of September. Louisiana will continue to issue replacement benefits to current SNAP households who lost food as a result of the hurricane.
The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in a series of USDA actions taken to help Louisiana residents cope with Hurricane Laura and its aftermath. These include:
- Approval of a disaster household distribution program of USDA Foods packages, which has been operating until the implementation of D-SNAP;
- A waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide;
- A waiver to extend the time period households have for reporting food loss from 10-days to 30-days;
- A waiver to allow the state to automatically replace 50% of the August SNAP benefits issued to households in the 26 parishes most severely impacted by the storm.
Louisianans seeking more information about this and other available aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura should visit hurricanelaura.la.gov, dial 2-1-1 or text their zip code to 898-211. For more information about Louisiana SNAP, visit the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services website.
Further, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) continues to provide significant support to Louisiana residents as part of its ongoing response to COVID-19. For more information on flexibilities provided to Louisiana, visit the FNS COVID-19 Response: Louisiana webpage.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’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. Follow us on Twitter at @USDANutrition.
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