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Mar 26, 2016
DSNAP Sites Approved for Allen Ascension and Calcasieu
Sites Set to Open this Week; DCFS Urges Residents to Pre-Register

BATON ROUGE - Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) sites will open this week in Allen, Ascension and Calcasieu parishes to issue disaster food assistance to residents in specific parts of these three parishes impacted by floods.

Governor John Bel Edwards requested Individual Assistance (IA) for nine additional parishes Thursday, and President Obama approved IA for four of these parishes yesterday: Jackson, Rapides, Red River, and Sabine. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has requested DSNAP for these four parishes and will provide updates when available. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has approved the following ZIP codes for aid: 
  • Allen Parish: ZIP codes 70648, 70654, 70655, 70658, and 71463 
  • Ascension Parish: ZIP codes 70725, 70734, 70737, 70769, 70774, and 70778 
  • Calcasieu Parish: ZIP codes 70661 and 70668 
Impacted residents from these ZIP codes who are not currently receiving SNAP benefits may be eligible. DSNAP, formerly called Disaster Food Stamps, provides food assistance to eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.

Each site will serve applicants this week on a staggered alphabetical schedule at the following locations:
  • Allen Parish Allen Parish Civic Center, 609 Tiger Lane, Oberlin, LA 70655
  • Ascension Parish Lamar Dixon Expo Center, 9039 S. St. Landry Road, Gonzales, LA 70737
  • Calcasieu Parish VFW Hall, 2292 LA-109, Vinton, LA 70668
To minimize wait times, applicants and anyone who pre-registered for benefits should go to a DSNAP location only on one of the days indicated by the first letter of their last name. Applicants who are unable to visit a site on their designated day should go on one of the final days specified. 
  • Wednesday, March 30 - A-F 
  • Thursday, March 31 - G-N 
  • Friday, April 1 - O-Z 
  • Saturday, April 2 - A-K (applicants unable to make prior scheduled day) 
  • Sunday, April 3 - L-Z (applicants unable to make prior scheduled day) 
"If our experience over the past week in the initial 23 parishes is any indication, many residents are waiting to go to DSNAP sites on the weekend rather than their appointed day during the week. We understand, for many people it's not an option. However, it's important to know the lines are longest over the weekend. We encourage residents, if at all possible, to go during the week. Don't wait unless you have to," said ­­­­­DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. 

Today is the last day for the six-day DSNAP operation in 23 parishes: Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, DeSoto, Claiborne, Grant, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Richland, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn. 

In the first five days alone, the 25 sites in 23 parishes issued more than $13.5 million in DSNAP benefits to 36,635 households. 

DSNAP eligibility and the importance of pre-registration

DSNAP applicants MUST go to a specified DSNAP site to apply and receive benefits, if eligible. 

Applicants may name an Authorized Representative to go to a DSNAP site on their behalf. Authorized representatives must bring with them to the DSNAP site a picture ID and the picture ID of the applicant/head of household along with a signed statement from the applicant/head of household or an adult household member authorizing them as a representative. 

Accommodations will be made for the elderly and those with disabilities to reduce on-site wait times. 

Regular SNAP households DO NOT need to apply for DSNAP. Impacted households that receive regular SNAP benefits in the specified ZIP codes in these DSNAP parishes will have additional SNAP benefits added to their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards if they are not already receiving the maximum monthly allotment for their household size. 

To help expedite the application process, DCFS is encouraging residents in all affected areas to pre-register for DSNAP benefits. The best way to do this is online at www.dcfs.la.gov/dsnap. However, residents can also pre-register by phone at 1-888-LAHELP-U (1-888-524-3578) daily between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Callers will select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3. Residents who are already pre-registered do not have to pre-register again, but they should update their information if it is not current. All pre-registrants will have to provide the following information:
  • Name, Social Security Number, and Date of Birth for each household member 
  • Current address and parish of household 
  • Monthly income for each household member 
  • All liquid assets for each household member (cash on hand, checking, savings)
  • The information will be kept securely on file and will be confidential. 
The pre-registration process does not guarantee benefits, but is designed to save time, minimize long waits, and prevent applicants from coming to the site only to find out that they do not have the right information needed to apply. 

As with all programs, DCFS works to ensure this program and others are available for eligible applicants by aggressively protecting against fraud in benefits programs year round. Strong safeguards are in place to ensure that only eligible citizens receive DSNAP benefits, to identify those who are dishonest about their eligibility, and to pursue recoupment and/or prosecution. 

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