The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly referred to as food stamps, has been an important aid for Louisianians for years, helping them to move forward in the bad times and making things a little easier. This vital program provides eligible participants with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which can be used to purchase food items at authorized retailers. The SNAP benefits system operates by determining an individual or household’s eligibility based on factors such as income, expenses, and household size.
In a bid to alleviate financial burdens faced by residents, Louisiana is set to distribute some extra SNAP benefits to eligible recipients this month. These funds will provide invaluable assistance to individuals and families, ensuring access to an adequate and healthy diet. If you are a Louisiana resident and a SNAP beneficiary, and you lost food due to the major energy outages, this could interest you.
How to get your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits replaced this month in Louisiana
Severe weather conditions recently struck northern Louisiana, causing prolonged power outages that have left many individuals and families without electricity for days. If you are a recipient of SNAP benefits and have experienced this situation, there is some good news for you. The United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) has approved a waiver to help SNAP recipients in three parishes.
The SNAP recipients living in Bossier, Caddo, and DeSoto can replace their spoiled groceries due to the extra food stamps benefits getting issued. This waiver allows eligible individuals and households to have a portion of their June benefits automatically replaced. The aim is to alleviate the financial strain caused by the loss of groceries due to the severe storms that struck the northern part of Louisiana on June 16th, 2023.
How can Louisiana residents replace their spoiled groceries due to power outages?
During power outages in Louisiana, residents may face the issue of spoiled groceries:
- Check homeowners insurance policies: Homeowners insurance policies may provide coverage for food spoilage caused by power outages. Standard policies usually cover food loss due to power outages or mechanical failure of refrigeration equipment, typically up to $500 or $1,000.
- Understand coverage limits: Homeowners should be aware that coverage limits usually apply when it comes to food spoilage claims. The reimbursement amount may be capped, often up to $500 per occurrence. It’s crucial to evaluate the value of the lost food and consider whether filing a claim is worth it, as frequent filings within a 10-year period could lead to a policy cancellation or increased premium.
- Consider SNAP benefit replacement: For recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) offers replacement of food purchased with SNAP benefits if there was a loss of food due to power outages. SNAP recipients need to file a request to replace the food loss within a specified timeframe, typically within 10 days of the date the food was destroyed.
Do I have to recertify my SNAP benefits in July 2023?
The renewal of the food stamps must be done every before your certification period ends. This period is the time for which you have been granted the benefits when they were approved the last time. For most households in Louisiana with no 60-year-old or disabled members, that period is 12 months. For those households with elderly (60+) or disabled people, that period is 24 months.
If your benefits are ending in July 2023, right now you should be filling your recertification: you might have received an email when it’s time to reapply, but it’s recommended to put a note in your calendar or wherever you keep your important reminder notes. You can renew your benefits online with your LA CAFÉ account. Or, you can opt for the traditional way, visiting your local SNAP office or calling the Louisiana SNAP hotline (1-888-524-3578) to find out how.
It is indispensable to do the recertification process on time and providing all the necessary requirements and documents, so as not to be left empty-handed amidst a complicated economic situation at home. You might be requested to provide a large amount of documents, so you better call with enough time in advance to be sure you’ve got everything ready.
What is the SNAP 38 form, and who needs to complete and sign it?
In general, when applying for SNAP benefits, there are some common requirements and forms that may need to be completed and signed.
Identification: One of the most important components of a SNAP application is providing documented evidence of your identity. This may include presenting a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, voter registration card, U.S. passport, military ID, or school ID. Other documentation, such as a birth certificate, census records, adoption records, or a naturalization certificate, may also be accepted as proof of identification.
Proof of Residence: SNAP requires applicants to apply for food benefits within their state of residence. Documentation such as a current lease, rent receipt, voter registration card, or mortgage records may be submitted to verify your place of residence. In some cases, a letter from a source outside your household may be accepted to verify your address.
SNAP Application Form: The specific form for SNAP applications may vary depending on the organization or government agency responsible for SNAP benefits in your area. The application form can usually be filled out online or in offline mode. The process typically involves registering on the official website, providing personal and academic details, and uploading required documents such as a photograph and signature. The application form may also require information about eligibility factors such as income, household size, and citizenship status.
Another Louisiana parishes to get extra SNAP benefits
In addition to the waiver for the three parishes, the USDA FNS has also approved a second waiver that extends additional assistance to SNAP recipients in 18 other parishes affected by the June storm. However, the recipients in these parishes should apply for replacement benefits before the deadline of July 17. Eligible individuals will have the opportunity to receive compensation for the food items they lost during the severe weather event.
In Bossier, Caddo, and DeSoto, beneficiaries will get up to 60% of their household June replaced. The other parishes’ recipients will have different percentages due to every particular case. The USDA’s assistance is expected to make a meaningful impact on the community, since over 32,000 SNAP households located within the boundaries of these three parishes.
Residents who believe they lost more than 60% of their SNAP monthly benefit amount will have to make a special request, by completing a signed SNAP 38 form. People who lost power for 24 or more straight hours can request replacement benefits by submitting a completed and signed SNAP 38 form to DCFS, within these parishes: Bienville, Caldwell, Claiborne, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Red River, Richland, Tensas, Union, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn.
The impact of power outages on low-income households
Power outages can have a significant impact on low-income households, some key points:
- Low-income households are often more vulnerable to power outages due to several factors. They may live in areas that are farther from critical service providers, such as hospitals and nursing homes, which are prioritized during outages.
- Power outages can result in increased electricity bills, further straining the budgets of low-income households.
- Food insecurity: Without the financial means to replace spoiled groceries, these households may face hunger and financial crises