“This is great news for impacted residents and we strongly encourage them to return to the nearest application site to apply,” said Interim Department of Social Services Secretary Kristy Nichols. “We did not want a quirk in the calendar to hurt families that need this help and I’m glad the federal government responded to our request so quickly.”
Prior to receiving this waiver, DSS eligibility was based on all paychecks received during the disaster benefits period which started on August 29, 2008 and runs through September 27, 2008. Now that period has been changed to start and end one day later. This will impact many families who received three to five paychecks during that period and found themselves above the income threshold where normally that would not be the case. It will not affect families who have already applied, and received benefits.
“We thank Governor Jindal for his leadership in making this possible for a number of Louisianans who were heavily impacted by Hurricane Gustav,” said Nichols. “The waiver allows us the flexibility to reach the goal of providing benefits to those families in need in Louisiana.”
Disaster Food Stamp applicants are asked to continue to monitor the Department of Social Service’s website as well as news reports for the most current information regarding site openings and hours of operation.
Participants in the regular state Food Stamp Program do not need to apply for disaster aid because any revised benefits will automatically be added to their current Electronic Benefit card.
Individuals with disabilities can designate an authorized representative to apply for Disaster Food Stamps on their behalf. Also, each site manager has developed special procedures for assisting the disabled. Applicants with these special needs should make themselves known to the site manager or staff at the site
In order to help the elderly and disabled, Council on Aging staff members have been trained to administer Disaster Food Stamps. People 60 years of age or older should contact their local parish Councils on Aging for the nearest Disaster Food Stamp Assistance Application Site for seniors. If the local Council on Aging is not available, seniors should contact the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs at 1-877-340-9100.
For information about the schedules of the sites and to learn who is eligible to receive Disaster Food Stamps visit www.dss.state.la.us or call 1-888-LAHELPU (1-888-524-3578).