SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) benefits have been made available for tornado victims in Ascension Parish through March 31, 2017.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received approval of a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service to allow the purchase of hot foods with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in seven tornado-impacted parishes.

The following parishes are included in the waiver: Ascension, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, St. James, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa.

Normally, federal regulations define eligible food purchases with SNAP or Disaster SNAP (DSNAP) benefits as "any food or food product intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption."

The waiver was necessary because of an ongoing need to assist residents who have been displaced and unable to cook in their transitional residence.

FNS has sent a notice to retailers to inform them of the waiver of the hot foods exception. SNAP and DSNAP are administered in Louisiana by DCFS and overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Read more about recipients' rights here: www.dcfs.la.gov/disaster

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