WASHINGTON, October 7, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that low-income Florida residents recovering from Hurricane Ian may be eligible for assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for USDA Disaster (D-SNAP).
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said households that are not normally eligible under the regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may be eligible for D-SNAP if they meet certain criteria, including disaster income limits, and whether they have eligible disaster-related expenses. The Florida Department of Children and Families estimates that more than 740,000 households may be eligible for D-SNAP assistance.
“USDA stands with our neighbors in Florida to continue providing vital food assistance as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian,” Secretary Vilsack said. “The Department is prepared to extend any available flexibility that will improve access to food on their road to recovery.”
To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live or work in an 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 – which they can use to purchase groceries at SNAP-authorized stores or from select online retailers to meet their temporary food needs as they resettle in their homes after the disaster. Florida will share information about D-SNAP application dates and locations through local media.
The timing of D-SNAP varies depending on the unique circumstances of each disaster, but always begins after commercial food distribution channels 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 appropriate public information, personnel, and resources are in place.
The state agency will offer a hybrid model that includes in-person and virtual D-SNAP operations. FNS endorses the use of virtual operations to facilitate participant safety due to COVID-19.
Today’s D-SNAP announcement is the latest in a series of actions the USDA is taking to help Florida residents deal with Hurricane Ian. and its consequences, which also includes:
- Approved a waiver to extend certification periods by six months for all statewide SNAP cases that are due for recertification in November and December.
- Approving an early issuance of October 2022 SNAP benefits to SNAP households that receive their benefits between October 1 and October 14. The statewide waiver applies to SNAP benefits in all households that receive benefits during this time.
- Approving a waiver to allow SNAP participants to purchase hot food and prepared hot food items for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through October 31.
- Approve a waiver for mass replacements in 19 counties (Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Okeechobee, Orange, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia) .
- Approved a waiver to give SNAP participants in 7 counties additional time to apply for replacement benefits for food that has been destroyed. The waiver applies to residents of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lake, Lee, Osceola, Sarasota and St. Johns counties. Participants have until October 17 to report their food loss.
- Approve waivers for child nutrition program operations impacted by Hurricane Ian. Under the waiver approval, during school closures when classes are not offered, program operators in Florida may serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program or the optional national school lunch (NSLP) seamless summer program in a non-collective setting, adjust meal times, allow parents to pick up and serve meals at school sites. Waivers are in effect until November 25, 2022.
- Approval of a waiver for child nutrition program operations affected by Hurricane Ian. Under the waiver approval, Florida Child Care Food Program (CCFP) institutions and sponsoring organizations, which are part of the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), may serve meals in a setting not collective. The waiver is effective until November 25, 2022.
- Approval of a waiver for open Summer Dining Program (SFSP) sites at other locations, as proposed during unscheduled school closures effective immediately, through October 31, 2022, or until the end of unplanned school closures related specifically to Hurricane Ian.
- Approve the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) election deadline for Collier County Public Schools to support access to nutritious meals while Collier County Public Schools mitigate administrative, fiscal challenges and operational damage caused by Hurricane Ian.
Details of Florida’s D-SNAP program will be available at the Florida Department of Children and Families’ Hurricane Ian Response and Recovery Website. D-SNAP locations will be posted on the website as they become available.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through access to safe, healthy and nutritious food, while creating more resilient diets. system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS fights to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, School Meals and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutritional recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov.
The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.
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