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USDA Announces Approval of D-SNAP for Florida Disaster Areas

USDA Announces Approval of D-SNAP for Florida Disaster Areas

USDA Announces Approval of D-SNAP for Florida Disaster Areas

WASHINGTON, October 7, 2022 – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that low-income Floridians recovering from Hurricane Ian may be eligible for assistance from USDA’s Supplemental Disaster Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said households that are not otherwise eligible under regular Food Assistance Program (SNAP) rules can qualify for D-SNAP if they meet certain criteria, including disaster income limits, and have qualified disaster-related expenses . The Florida Department of Children and Families estimates that more than 740,000 households may be eligible for D-SNAP assistance.

“USDA stands with our neighbors in Florida to continue providing vital food assistance as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The department is prepared to extend any available flexibility that will improve access to food during their recovery.”

To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must either live or work in an identified disaster area, be affected by a disaster, and meet certain criteria for D-SNAP. Eligible households will receive one month of benefits – equal to the maximum monthly amount for a SNAP household of their size – that they can use to buy groceries at SNAP-authorized stores or from choose online retailers to meet their temporary food needs as they return home after a disaster. Florida will share information about D-SNAP application dates and locations through local media.

The timing of D-SNAP varies depending on the unique circumstances of each disaster, but it always begins after commercial food distribution channels have been restored and families can purchase and prepare food at home. Before initiating D-SNAP, the state must ensure that adequate public information, personnel, and resources are in place.

The state agency will offer a hybrid model that includes in-person and virtual D-SNAP operations. FNS authorizes the use of virtual operations to facilitate participant safety due to COVID-19.

Today’s D-SNAP announcement is the latest in a series of USDA actions to help Florida residents cope with Hurricane Ian and its consequences, which also includes:

  • Approval of a waiver to extend the certification period by six months for all SNAP cases statewide due to recertification in November and December.
  • Authorizing the early release of October 2022 benefits for SNAP households receiving their benefits between October 1 and October 14. The statewide waiver applies to SNAP benefits in all households receiving benefits during this time frame.
  • Approving a waiver to allow SNAP participants to purchase hot food and ready-to-eat hot food products with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through October 31.
  • Approval of mass replacement in 19 counties (Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Okeechobee, Orange, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia).
  • Approving a waiver to allow SNAP participants in 7 counties additional time to claim replacement benefits for food that was destroyed. The waiver applies to residents of Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lake, Lee, Osceola, Sarasota and St. Johns. Participants have until October 17 to report the loss of food.
  • Approval of a waiver related to the operations of the Child Nutrition Program affected by Hurricane Ian. Under the waiver approval, during school closures when classes are not offered, program operators in Florida may serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program or the National School Lunch Seamless Summer Option (NSLP) in a non-huddle environment, adjust meal service times, allow parents to pick them up and serve meals in school facilities. The waivers are in effect until November 25, 2022.
  • Approval of a waiver related to the operations of the Child Nutrition Program affected by Hurricane Ian. Under waiver approval, Florida Child Care Food Program (CCFP) institutions and sponsoring organizations, which are part of the federal Child Care Food Program (CACFP), may serve meals in a non-congregated setting. The waiver is in effect until November 25, 2022.
  • Authorization to waive open locations for the Summer Food Program (SFSP) at alternate locations as proposed during unexpected school closures effective immediately, through October 31, 2022, or until the end of unexpected school closures specifically related to Hurricane Ian.
  • Approving the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) election deadline for Collier County Public Schools to support access to nutritious meals as Collier County Public Schools mitigates administrative, fiscal and operational challenges caused by Hurricane Ian.

Details about Florida’s D-SNAP program will be available from the Florida Department of Children and Families Hurricane Ian Response & Recovery website. D-SNAP pages will be posted on the website as they become available.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) uses its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equal access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food while building a more resilient food system. . Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS fights to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs like SNAP, school meals and WIC. FNS also provides science-based dietary recommendations through the collaborative development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit www.fns.usda.gov.

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