Monday, April 24, 2023
WASHINGTON, April 24, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that low-income Arkansas residents in three counties (Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski), recovering from the impacts of tornadoes and severe storms beginning March 31, 2023, could be eligible for a helping hand from the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that approximately 1,600 households that may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may qualify for D-SNAP – if they meet certain criteria, including the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.
“This waiver approval for D-SNAP will help low-income Arkansas residents get the food they need as they struggle with the aftermath of recent tornadoes and severe storms,” Vilsack said.
To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live in an identified disaster area, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. 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 purchase groceries at SNAP-authorized stores or from select retailers online to meet their temporary food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. Arkansas will operate its D-SNAP application April 26, 2023, through May 2, 2023. Arkansas will share information about D-SNAP application dates and locations through local media.
The timing of D-SNAP varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster, Vilsack said, but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP, a state must ensure that the proper public information, staffing, and resources are in place.
Although current SNAP households in the identified areas are not eligible for D-SNAP, they may request supplemental SNAP benefits to raise their allotment to the maximum amount for their household size for one month if they don’t already receive that amount.
The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in a battery of USDA actions taken to help Arkansas residents cope with the impacts of recent tornadoes and severe storms and its aftermath, which also include:
- A waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through April 30, 2023.
- A waiver for the 10-day reporting requirement for the replacement of food purchased with SNAP benefits that were lost as a result of power outages due to tornadoes in three counties (Cross, Lonoke and Pulaski). This waiver is in effect through May 1, 2023.
- Approving various waivers relating to the Child Nutrition Program operations in Wayne School District that were impacted by the tornado on March 31, 2023.
- Approving a request to operate the Disaster Household Distribution program – the use of USDA Foods from the Emergency Food Assistance Program or TEFAP – to provide food assistance in the counties of Cross and Pulaski.
For more information about this and other available aid, callers from Arkansas can dial 2-1-1 or 1-800 651-3493. For more information about Arkansas SNAP, visit Arkansas’ Department of Human Services.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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