North Carolina residents recovering from Hurricane Florence could be eligible for disaster food benefits through the availability of USDA’s Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Households that may not normally be eligible under regular SNAP rules may qualify for D-SNAP if they meet the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.
“Our department is committed to providing the assistance needed to our neighbors, as they pull themselves to recovery,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “The D-SNAP program USDA is announcing today is an important step forward in bringing back normalcy to those impacted.”
D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive one month of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size, to meet their food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live in one of the affected counties. North Carolina will share information about eligible counties, D-SNAP dates, and locations through the local media.
D-SNAP timing varies with the circumstances of each disaster, but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have 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. For example, power must be restored, roads must be passable, and a sufficient amount of stores must be open and available to redeem D-SNAP benefits. Affected households should look for public information notices from the State regarding the location of application sites and dates of application in each county.
Disaster supplements will be provided to ongoing SNAP households up to the maximum allotment for their household size in counties most affected by the storm. Recipients may receive automatic disaster supplements if they file an affidavit with the local office attesting to food losses and disaster expenses.
Current participants may have also had a portion of their September benefits replaced since many lost food as a result of the storm. Late this week, participants in the State identified counties most affected by the storm and who have not already requested benefit replacement via an affidavit will automatically receive 60 percent of their regular September SNAP benefit to allow for replacement of perishable food lost due to storm-caused power outages.
The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in a battery of USDA actions North Carolina Disaster Nutrition Assistance taken to help North Carolina residents cope with the storm and its aftermath that also include a waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through October 31, 2018.
In addition, local disaster organizations, such as The Salvation Army and NC Baptist Men continue to utilize USDA Foods to serve hot meals in congregate shelters. Individuals seeking more information about this and other available aid should dial 2-1-1.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, these programs include the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, the National School Lunch Program, and the Summer Food Service Program which together comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information, visit www.fns.usda.gov.
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