Federal disaster SNAP food assistance program activated in 12 Big Bend counties

Posted at 12:30 PM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 15:56:27-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The Department of Children and Families (DCF), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has just activated the the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in 12 Big Bend counties to assist communities impacted by Hurricane Michael.

D-SNAP, formerly known as Food for Florida, offers emergency food benefits to:

  • Applicants who are not currently receiving food benefits through regular SNAP.
  • Victims of hurricanes or other types of disasters.

DCF anticipates serving approximately 130,000 families through the federal DSNAP program as a result of Hurricane Michael. DCF served more than 1.2 million households for Hurricane Irma disaster food assistance last year.

Following DCF’s request, the federal government has granted permission to conduct phone applications for those individuals in all 12 counties who may not be able to attend the in-person events.

Families in these counties, and those who are displaced as a result of the storm, are strongly encouraged to pre-register and take advantage of the phone application option.

DCF will host D-SNAP events in three phases, based on the order in which they were declared eligible for Individual Assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Taylor, WakullaPre-Registration Window is from Oct. 26 - Nov. 4; Phone Application Window is from Oct. 27 - Oct. 30; In-Person Application Window is from Oct. 31 - Nov. 4.

Calhoun, Gadsden, Jackson, LibertyPre-Registration Window is from Nov. 1 – Nov. 11; Phone Application Window is from Nov. 3 - Nov. 5 and Nov. 7; In-Person Application Window is from Nov. 7 - Nov. 11

LeonPre-Registration Window is from Nov. 8 – Nov. 19; Phone Application Window is from Nov. 10 - Nov. 13; In-Person Application Window is from Nov. 14 - Nov. 16 and Nov. 18 - Nov. 19

Holmes, WashingtonPre-Registration Window is from Nov. 8 – Nov. 18; Phone Application Window is from Nov. 10 - Nov. 13; In-Person Application Window is from Nov. 14 - Nov. 18.

To qualify for D-SNAP, applicants must have lived or worked in one of the counties declared for FEMA Individual Assistance on October 10, and not be receiving food assistance through the regular SNAP program.

Additionally, eligible individuals and families must have suffered a disaster-related loss, such as damage to their homes or self-employment property, loss of food, reduction or loss of income, or have incurred other disaster-related expenses. Applicants must also be financially eligible.

DCF will provide or mail Electronic Benefits Transfer cards to eligible individuals and families to use at authorized USDA food retailers.

Individuals and authorized representatives are strongly encouraged to pre-register online. D-SNAP pre-registration will be available on the D-SNAP website and open for people in need of food assistance in eligible counties prior to the phone and on-site events.

D-SNAP sites in Gulf, Bay, Franklin, Taylor, and Wakulla counties will open next week. Individuals who lived or worked in these counties on October 10 can pre-register beginning October 26 after 1:00 p.m.

Pre-registration for other eligible counties will be available prior to the opening of the local site.

Individuals, families, and authorized representatives that pre-register must still call or visit a D-SNAP site to be interviewed. Individuals may also apply at D-SNAP site locations without pre-registering. 

Applicants who choose to visit an on-site event to complete the application process should attend in their county. Only one person per household needs to visit the on-site event.

Each site will also have designated areas for people with special needs.

Current food assistance participants should not pre-register, apply over the phone, or visit the local D-SNAP site; additional October benefits will be added to current client EBT cards in the 12 impacted counties.

DCF ordered an early release of food assistance benefits for those Florida residents in the 35 counties included in Governor Scott’s pre-landfall emergency order who would have received normal SNAP benefits in October.

DCF also waived restrictions on purchasing hot prepared food with SNAP benefits through October 31 statewide to assist customers who evacuated to another area or suffered storm damage to their home.

Visit the D-SNAP website for more information on pre-registration, site locations, and hours of operation.