DCF Information on Disaster SNAP (Food for Florida) as of September 15, 2017
DCF is working with federal officials as emergency assessments are completed for Disaster SNAP (also known as Food for Florida). DCF proactively submitted an initial request to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to activate Disaster SNAP in counties approved for FEMA for Individual Assistance. While Disaster SNAP is not currently active in Florida, DCF is communicating with the federal government to activate this program in eligible counties as soon as possible.
Disaster SNAP can only be activated after a declared emergency and approved by FNS. Activation requests, which are outlined in federal law, are filed by the state and are based on the percentage of power outages in a county over 72 hours, also including structural damage flooding damage, and retailer capability.
Additional State Actions Regarding Food Assistance Following Hurricane Irma
· DCF requested and FNS granted a mass replacement for 40 percent of SNAP benefits to customers approved as of September 10 in the following 52 counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, Desoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Suwanee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla counties. DCF is processing the replacement and benefits should be available on EBT cards by September 22.
· Recipients in any county may submit a form for individual replacement of benefits and the requests will be reviewed as soon as possible. DCF requested and FNS granted a waiver of the reporting requirement so that households in counties affected by Hurricane Irma have until September 29 to report SNAP food loss and request replacement of benefits.
· The deadline for current recipients to complete the September 2017 renewal/recertification process has been extended from 9/30/17 to 10/31/17. More information is available on the ACCESS Florida webpage.
· Other states have been provided federal guidance about processing SNAP applications submitted by Hurricane Irma evacuees. Floridians must identify themselves as Irma evacuees when applying for food assistance in other states.
· USDA Foods will be available across affected areas in Florida. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will work within its food bank network to serve people located in declared disaster areas.
· DCF requested and was granted a waiver for current SNAP customers to have the option to purchase hot foods with their EBT card at participating Florida retailers through September 30. Customers should inquire first with the store to see if they are equipped to process hot food purchases.
· September SNAP benefits were released early to customers (who had not already received for September) statewide on September 7 to assist customers with preparation for Hurricane Irma’s landfall.
The most up-to-date and accurate information on SNAP benefits and changes will be posted on the ACCESS Florida webpage. There is misinformation currently circulating on social media that indicates that Disaster SNAP is available to any individual who lost power for more than two hours – this is FALSE. Additional scams and rumors may arise. Check the ACCESS Florida webpage for accurate information.
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