DFCS issues monthly food stamp benefits early to support residents affected by Hurricane Michael

October 14, 2018

ATLANTA – In an effort to help ease the burden of purchasing food for low-income families affected by Hurricane Michael, the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) has released the October allotment of food stamp benefits to all Georgia residents. 

Georgia recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, traditionally known as food stamps) can now access their October benefits via their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards and do not have to wait until their regularly-scheduled issuance date later this month. 

Georgia DFCS worked over the weekend with its EBT vendor, Conduent, and with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to issue the remaining October benefits early for all SNAP recipients, particularly for those who live in counties covered by Governor Nathan Deal’s State of Emergency declaration. 

The move allows families in affected areas to quickly replace food lost in storm-related power outages.

“We know we have thousands of Georgians in dire circumstances in the aftermath of this historic storm,” said Interim DFCS Director Tom Rawlings. “We are hopeful the early release of this month’s benefit amount provides at least some relief to families in the greatest need.” 

The early release allows DFCS to get assistance to families quickly, and eases the burden on power companies, which must verify recipients’ power outages for them to replace food that may have perished in an outage lasting four hours or more. 

“Our partners at the Southern Company and Georgia’s Electric Membership Corporations are dealing with catastrophic losses in their infrastructure, and today’s decision allows them to focus on the enormous job of bringing electricity back to Southwest Georgia,” Rawlings said. 

Approximately 1.6 million Georgians rely on SNAP assistance to feed their families. SNAP benefits are generally released over a 19-day cycle between the fifth day and 23rd day of each month.

The regular issuance cycle will resume in November. 

Georgians who have trouble using their EBT card should call 1-888-421-3281.

DFCS will post ongoing updates, including information on how to replace food purchased with SNAP benefits following a power outage and storm-related office closures at www.dfcs.ga.gov.