Georgia announces Disaster SNAP program in 20 counties
ATLANTA – Georgians hit hardest by Hurricane Michael can apply for assistance to feed their families under a temporary program supported by the USDA and the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
DFCS, in partnership with the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, will implement a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in 20 Georgia counties to support families as they recover from the storm.
Georgia has not implemented a D-SNAP program since Hurricane Irene in 2011.
The program extends aid to low-income families—particularly those who are not normally eligible for food stamps—who have incurred expenses or suffered losses to income or property because of a natural disaster. The Division estimates about 50,000 families may be eligible for the assistance following Hurricane Michael.
“We know families continue to struggle to rebuild their lives after this historic storm, and we want to be sure that, while families are focusing on rebuilding their communities, they do not have to worry where their next meal will come from,” said DFCS Interim Director Tom Rawlings. “I commend our partners on the local, state and federal level for working quickly and relentlessly to ensure Georgians receive the help they need when they need it.”
Families who live or work in covered counties can apply for assistance beginning as early as next week. Note that the exception to allow buying ready-to-eat foods will only be available until Nov. 17 when purchases will be limited to foods to be prepared at home.
To qualify for D-SNAP, Georgians must meet the following criteria:
- Live or work in one of the 20 counties declared for Federal Emergency Management Agency for Individual Assistance
- Be ineligible and/or not currently receiving food assistance through the regular SNAP program
- Have suffered a disaster-related loss to property or income, including incurring expenses related to the disaster
- Provide photo identification and proof of residency for the head of household
- Meet financial eligibility requirements
Eligibility for the program requires a face-to-face interview. Clients must apply in-person at a designated D-SNAP site or send an authorized representative.
Current SNAP recipients should not apply for D-SNAP assistance; recipients who are eligible for D-SNAP will automatically receive a supplement on their EBT cards on or before Nov. 9.
The D-SNAP application period will be Nov. 7 through Nov. 14 for residents of the following counties: Baker, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas and Worth.
The D-SNAP application period will be Nov. 8 through Nov. 15 for residents of the following counties: Lee and Thomas.
The D-SNAP application period will be Nov. 15 through Nov. 19 for residents of the following counties: Calhoun, Clay, Laurens, Randolph, Sumter, Tift and Turner.
No applications will be taken on Monday, Nov. 12, due to the Veteran’s Day holiday. The Division may extend application periods, depending on the demand for assistance.
To find D-SNAP locations and operating hours or for more information on the program, visit www.dfcs.georgia.gov or call 1-833-DSNAP-GA (833-376-2742).
About Georgia SNAP assistance following Hurricane Michael
The creation of a D-SNAP program is the fourth such action Georgia DFCS and the USDA has taken to provide relief to low-income families since Hurricane Michael hit South Georgia Oct. 10.
To support families struggling to feed their families in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the Division on Oct. 13 released the monthly allotment of SNAP benefits early; benefits are typically released on a 19-day cycle between the fifth and 23rd day of each month. The Division, on Oct. 16, also extended the deadline for families to report food lost in power outages to Oct. 31; recipients typically only have 10 days to report such losses. As of Nov. 2, the Division had replaced more than $6.6 million in food stamp benefits to cover the loss of food spoiled in power outages.
The Division has also worked with the USDA to allow SNAP recipients in affected counties to purchase “hot” or prepared foods using their benefits, which is typically not allowed under the program. The “hot food waiver” is in effect until Nov. 17 for SNAP recipients in 23 South Georgia counties.