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DCFS is preparing a DSNAP application for parishes included in the initial federal disaster declaration for the State of Louisiana. Those parishes currently include Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes - although the list may continue to grow.
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. The state must request that the federal government initiate DSNAP, but can only make the request after the president activates the Stafford Act and approves the parish for Individual Assistance (IA).
After the state makes its request, it is expected that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) will respond quickly. In the meantime, DCFS is preparing potential DSNAP application sites and encouraging impacted residents to pre-register for benefits either online or by phone.
The best way to pre-register is online at www.dcfs.la.gov/preregister. However, residents can also pre-register by phone beginning tomorrow, August 16, at 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) daily between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Callers will select the appropriate language and then select options 3 and 3. 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 lines and prevent applicants from coming to the site only to find out that they do not have the right information needed to apply.
Residents who are already pre-registered for DSNAP do not need to pre-register again. If the state's DSNAP request is approved, residents who live in an eligible parish and have pre-registered must still visit a DSNAP application site to verify their information and identity to determine final eligibility and receive benefit cards, if eligible.
Households that receive regular SNAP benefits and live in parishes where DSNAP is activated DO NOT have to visit a DSNAP site to receive supplemental benefits. These households that receive regular SNAP benefits and live in parishes where DSNAP is activated will automatically have supplemental benefits added to their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards if they are not already receiving the maximum allotment for their household size.
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.
**Updated September 8, 2016 to include approved federal declaration parishes