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323K people in Louisiana get disaster food stamps after Ida

October 31, 2021 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — More than 323,000 people in Louisiana, mostly from Jefferson Parish, received emergency food stamps after Hurricane Ida struck southeastern parishes.

The Advocate reports the emergency aid was the second-largest distribution of food stamps in the history of the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Only 2008′s Hurricane Gustav, which hit west of Baton Rouge, saw a greater use of the disaster food stamps.

To help people recover from hurricanes and other disasters, the U.S. Department of Agriculture relaxes its income rules to qualify people who otherwise make too much money to receive food stamps.

For the Hurricane Ida program, the federal government distributed about $67.5 million to 154,224 households for an average of $438.10 per household in the 25 parishes that were eligible, according to the state Department of Children and Family Services, which manages the program.

About 75% of households that applied had damage enough to qualify.

The agency was inundated with calls, at some point overwhelming their phone lines, during the application period.