Thursday, April 13, 2023
WASHINGTON, April 13, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that low-income Mississippi residents in six counties (Carroll, Humphreys, Monroe, Montgomery, Panola, and Sharkey) due to the impact of severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes that began on March 24, 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 29,000 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.
“D-SNAP provides vital essential food assistance to Mississippi residents struggling with the aftermath of severe storms and tornadoes,” Vilsack said. “USDA recognizes that the crisis doesn’t end when the wind dies down. For many families in these stricken areas, it’s just beginning.”
To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must either live or work 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. Mississippi will operate D-SNAP in two phases:
- Phase one: Montgomery County will accept applications at designated site locations for five consecutive days beginning on April 17, 2023, through April 21, 2023. Carroll, Humphreys, and Sharkey Counties will accept applications at designated site locations for five consecutive days beginning on April 18, 2023, through April 22, 2023.
- Phase two: Monroe and Panola Counties will accept applications at designated site locations for five consecutive days beginning on April 26, 2023, through April 30, 2023.
Mississippi will share additional information about designated site 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 are not eligible for D-SNAP, USDA has also approved Mississippi to automatically issue supplemental SNAP benefits to current SNAP households in the four counties (Carroll, Humphreys, Montgomery, and Sharkey) to bring their allotment up to the maximum amount for their household size if they don’t already receive that amount. SNAP households in the remaining two counties, Monroe and Panola, may request supplemental benefits from their state SNAP agency. USDA estimates that nearly 4,000 households currently enrolled in SNAP will be eligible for supplemental benefits.
The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in a battery of USDA actions taken to help Mississippi residents cope with the impact of severe storms, an EF-4 tornado and its aftermath, which also include:
- A waiver to allow SNAP participants residing in 13 counties (Carroll, Grenada, Holmes, Humphreys, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Monroe, Montgomery, Sharkey, Sunflower, Washington and Yazoo) to buy hot foods and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through April 28, 2023.
- Approving a mass replacements waiver in the counties of Carroll, Humphreys, Montgomery and Sharkey, allowing households to receive replacement of benefits due to power outages and structural damage as a result of an EF-4 tornado that occurred on March 24-25, 2023.
- Approving 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 an EF-4 tornado in six counties (Carroll, Holmes, Humphreys, Monroe, Montgomery and Sharkey).
For more information about this and other available aid, callers from Mississippi can dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-222-6362. For more information about Mississippi SNAP, visit Mississippi’s 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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