Extra SNAP Benefits: How do Emergency Food Stamps work?

With Hurricane Ian having ravaged large parts of Florida, the state has begun its recovery efforts, with government officials providing eligible residents with guidelines on how to access additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, which were formerly called Food Stamps.

While the households that usually receive SNAP benefits between October 1-14, received their benefits early, September 27 to be precise, the state has sanctioned the release of additional benefits to those individuals who suffered food losses due to Hurricane Ian.

Strong winds and rough seas from Hurricane Ian washed debris along a road near Grand Cayman, Cayman

Which parts of Florida will receive Hurricane Ian Food Stamps?

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) also received approvals to sanction the mass replacements of SNAP benefits for any and all households that did not receive an early release of the aforementioned October payments.

The department also issued replacement benefits to the following Florida counties that were significantly impacted by the storm:

  • Charlotte
  • Collier
  • Desoto
  • Flagler
  • Glades
  • Hardee
  • Hendry
  • Highlands
  • Hillsborough
  • Lee
  • Manatee
  • Okeechobee
  • Orange
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Putnam
  • Sarasota
  • Seminole
  • Volusia

The DCF is also still awaiting approval for the Osceola and St. John’s districts.

What is the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) provides assistance to low-income families who have suffered food loss or damage brought on by a natural disaster.

It is not necessary for a household to qualify for SNAP in order to be eligible to D-SNAP benefits. You might be eligible to receive D-SNAP assistance if you meet one or more of the criteria listed below:

  • Home or business repairs
  • Temporary shelter expenses
  • Evacuation or relocation expenses
  • Disaster-related personal injury, including funeral expenses
  • Lost or no access to income due to the disaster; includes reduced, terminated, or delayed receipt of income, for a large part of the benefit period
  • In certain cases, food loss after a disaster like flooding or power outages

As of October 5, the DCF is still waiting for the US Department of Agriculture, the authority that oversees SNAP, to sanction its request for non-SNAP recipients to receive SNAP benefits and for existing SNAP participants to receive the maximum benefit for their household size.