Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

You may be able to get short-term disaster SNAP benefits through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in the instance that you and your family are affected by a disaster or emergency.

D-SNAP is authorized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) to aid qualifying low-income households. However, D-SNAP is different than the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), since it is only giving aid to low-incoming families suffering from loss of food or damage in the wake of a natural disaster.

To apply for disaster food assistance, you will do directly through your state. If your application for is D-SNAP is approved, you will be issued an  , which works like a debit card. Then, you can use your card to buy food at participating grocery stores. However, it is essential that you know that the aid you receive through D-SNAP is only short-term.How does D-SNAP work?

Before you can apply for disaster SNAP benefits, you may be wondering how the program works. According to program guidelines, the FNS must authorize states before they can operate D-SNAP in an area that has been affected by a natural disaster. However, the president of the United States must first declare Individual Assistance (IA) for the area that has been hit by a disaster. Then, the state must request approval to operate D-SNAP in a disaster-impacted area.

How can I determine if I meet D-SNAP eligibility criteria?

You may be wondering if you qualify for DSNAP now that you know how the program works. According to program guidelines, the standards for the program are different than SNAP since the needs of disaster survivors are different. Meaning, that if you do not usually qualify for SNAP benefits, you may still be eligible for D-SNAP. However, you must incur one of the below disaster-related expenses to qualify:

  • Home or business repairs
  • Expenses for a temporary shelter
  • Relocation or evacuation expenses
  • Business or home protection
  • Personal injuries that are disaster-related, which include the cost of funeral expenses
  • Loss or lack of access to income as a result of the disaster, including reduced, delayed, terminated or delayed receipt of income for a majority of the benefit period
  • Food loss after a disaster due to power outages or flooding

Related Article: Food Stamps Eligibility Guidelines

However, if you wish to apply for disaster food assistance and you are a current SNAP beneficiary, you can request a supplement, as long as D-SNAP is operating in your state, and you meet both of the below criteria:

  1. Your current benefits are less than the monthly maximum.
  2. You have losses caused by the disaster.

Therefore, the supplement will bring your benefits up to the maximum allowed for your household size. Meaning, your benefits are now equal between D-SNAP and SNAP households after a disaster occurs.

NOTE: If you are a current SNAP beneficiary, you can request replacement benefits for any food that was lost in a disaster that was purchased with SNAP benefits. To do so, you must contact your local SNAP office.

How many benefits do I get as a D-SNAP recipient?

Now that you know that you meet eligibility requirements for disaster food stamps, you may be curious as to the number of temporary benefits that you are eligible to receive. According to program guidelines, each eligible household will receive one month of benefits, which is equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits that a household of the same sizes is typically issued.

NOTE: It is essential that you know that your household cannot receive both D-SNAP benefits and disaster distribution USDA foods simultaneously. However, it is up to each state to take the necessary steps to prevent households from participating in both federal programs.

How can I apply for D-SNAP benefits?

You are ready to apply for D-SNAP benefits now that you know that you meet program guidelines. If you are a survivor of a natural disaster, you may apply for D-SNAP benefits in your community at specially designated sites. To do so, you and every household affected by the disaster will fill out a simplified application. Typically, before the D-SNAP program starts in a disaster-affected area, state agencies release program information through the local press and media. By doing so, they are helping the community learn the location of application sites, the days in which they are in operation and the program’s eligibility requirements.

When can I expect to receive my D-SNAP benefits?

Now that you have applied for disaster food stamps, and your application is approved, you are ready to receive D-SNAP benefits. According to program guidelines, benefits are issued to qualifying applications within 72 hours of the application process. By doing so, it speeds assistance to those qualifying survivors of a natural disaster, while reducing the administrative burden on the state agencies that are now operating in a post-disaster setting.

When you sign up and receive D-SNAP benefits after a disaster, it is essential to know that the FNS only approve the program to operate in the state for a short period, which is typically seven days. During that time, the state agency may accept applications.

Related Article: How to Apply for Food Stamps

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