After Hurricane Florence swept through North Carolina, USDA says residents there may be eligible for Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP).
Special SNAP rules apply when a disaster area is declared, so people who would normally not qualify for SNAP may be eligible for D-SNAP. They must meet the disaster income limits and also have qualifying disaster-related expenses.
The Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said committed the department to providing “the assistance needed to our neighbors, as they pull themselves to recovery. The D-SNAP program USDA is announcing today is an important step forward in bringing back normalcy to those impacted.”
One month of benefits is available to D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas.
USDA says this is equivalent to the maximum benefit normally issued to a SNAP household of their size. The benefit is to be used to meet their food needs as they settle back home following the disaster.
Households living in one of the affected counties are eligible for D-SNAP. USDA says the North Carolina state government will use local media to distribute information about which counties are eligible, along with the D-SNAP dates and locations.
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.
Existing SNAP households will receive disaster supplements up to the maximum allotment for their household size in storm affected counties. These households may also receive automatic disaster supplements by filing an affidavit with the local office, declaring 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.
Local Disaster Organizations
USDA also said that The Salvation Army, NC Baptist Men and other local disaster organizations utilize USDA Foods to serve hot meals in congregate shelters. More information about this service and other available aid can dial 2-1-1.
“Long before Hurricane Florence hit our shores, we were mobilizing,” Salvation Army’s Lt. Col. Eddie Hobgood said. Hobgood is the Divisional Commander North & South Carolina Division of The Salvation Army.
Salvation Army volunteers have been out working in the Carolinas to support people greatly affected by the disaster. The group provides substantial food to supplement the remaining snacks held by the people there. One man said of the Salvation Army, “We appreciate everything being done for us.”
The Salvation Army thanks Walmart for their generous contribution of $1.25 million to support The Salvation Army’s response to Hurricane Florence. “This generosity will allow us to continue to serve impacted areas and to uniquely assess the needs in each community in which we are serving.”
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.