BATON ROUGE, LA — The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) announced today that the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service has approved the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) for East Baton Rouge Parish. The program will begin on Monday.
In preparation for the program, DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier today urged East Baton Rouge residents to pre-apply for DSNAP benefits before visiting a DSNAP site.
DSNAP locations in East Baton Rouge Parish will be announced in the coming days. The sites will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for a five-day period and will serve applicants on the following alphabetic schedule.
Applicants should go to a DSNAP location only on the one day designated for the first letter of their last name during the five-day program.
Monday, September 24 - A through C
Tuesday, September 25 - D through G
Wednesday, September 26 - H through L
Thursday, September 27 - M through R
Friday, September 28 - S through Z
Applicants who are unable to visit a site on their designated day can send an authorized representative on the day designated for the applicant's last name. An authorized representative will need to bring a copy of the government ID for whom they are applying, as well as a signed statement from that person giving the authorized representative permission to act on their behalf.
"We encourage all residents who don't already receive regular SNAP benefits, who are low to moderate income and who experienced loss or damage during Hurricane Isaac to pre-apply online for DSNAP or by phone," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Pre-application can significantly reduce the time it takes to get resources to eligible citizens."
According to Sonnier, the pre-application process does not guarantee benefits but is designed to expedite the process and ensure that applicants have all the information needed to apply before visiting a DSNAP site.
The best way to pre-apply is by phone at 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) daily between 6 a.m. and midnight. Callers will select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3. If residents have internet access they can pre-apply by visiting www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/preapply.
All pre-applicants must have resided in East Baton Rouge Parish on August 26 and must provide the following information:
Names, Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth for each household member;
Address and Parish where you currently live;
Income for each household member for the period August 26 through September 24; and
All liquid resources for each household member (cash on hand, checking, savings).
Unreimbursed disaster expenses during the disaster period of August 26 and September 24
DSNAP is an income eligibility based program to assist eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster. Eligibility is determined by federal guidelines and is based on an individual's known or expected income, resources (such as cash on hand, saving and checking account balances) and unreimbursed disaster expenses during the disaster period of August 26 and September 24.
The following are the federal adjusted gross monthly income guidelines by household size:
Household Size Disaster Gross Monthly Income Limit
On average, a family of four can have an adjusted gross monthly income of no more than $2,477 to be eligible for DSNAP.
Unreimbursed disaster-related expenses might include things like evacuation costs, such as a hotel stay, purchase of a generator, cost of rebuilding a fence or repairs to a home. Federal guidelines state that the expense must be paid within the benefit period, which for Hurricane Isaac is August 26 through September 24.
For information on income guidelines, visit www.dcfs.la.gov or call 211.
Regular SNAP households DO NOT need to pre-apply or visit a DSNAP site to receive additional benefits. Regular SNAP recipients in East Baton Rouge will have DSNAP benefits automatically added to their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card if they are not already receiving the maximum allotment for their household size.
Regular SNAP recipients also received replacement benefits equaling 30 percent of their August monthly allotment, to assist in replacing food lost from the storm.
Attempts to defraud the DSNAP program will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Applicants who knowingly provide inaccurate or incomplete information as part of a DSNAP application could face criminal prosecution and disqualification of benefits. Individuals who already have received DSNAP cannot reapply. DCFS will investigate suspected fraud and aggressively pursue recoupment and possibly prosecution.