USDA approves disaster SNAP benefits for areas recovering from Hurricane Ida

Staff Report
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The U.S Department of Agriculture announced Sept. 15 that eligible Louisiana residents recovering from Hurricane Ida could qualify for help from the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  

Households that may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rules may qualify for D-SNAP, if they meet certain criteria including the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.

To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live in the identified disaster area, 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 monthly amount for a SNAP household of their size to meet their temporary food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. 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,  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.

The D-SNAP announcement is the latest in a collection of USDA actions taken to help Louisiana residents cope with Hurricane Ida and its aftermath, which also include:

  • Approving 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 Sept. 28, 2021.
  • Approving a timely reporting waiver for all parishes in the state of Louisiana through Sept. 28, 2021, allowing affected residents more time to notify the state of food lost as a result of the storm.
  • Approving a mass replacement wavier allowing residents in 18 parishes (Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington) to receive an automatic replacement of 55% of SNAP benefits issued to affected households in August 2021. 
  • Approving Disaster Household Distribution, providing 800,000 packages of nutritious, high-quality UDDA foods, through agency partners and local food banks, to individuals in the affected area. 

For more information about available aid Louisiana residents can dial 2-1-1 or call 1-888-LAHELPU (1-888-524-3578). For more information about Louisiana D-SNAP, visit http://dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov.