Ida disaster food stamp application extended in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Inundated by calls from people struggling to buy groceries after Hurricane Ida, Louisiana’s social services agency received federal approval to stretch out the application period for disaster food stamps by three additional days to work through the backlog.
The state Department of Children and Family Services said Thursday that the application period will run through Oct. 13, under the approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Disaster food stamps for low- to moderate-income households that don’t currently receive the assistance were approved for 25 southeastern Louisiana parishes with damage from Ida, a Category 4 storm that struck Aug. 29.
Callers have jammed the state’s food stamp phone line, which has received as many as 350 calls per second, according to the Department of Children and Family Services.
“I know that we’ve been overwhelmed with calls,” said agency Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. She added: “People are hungry, and this has been a big disaster.”
More than 109,000 disaster food stamp requests have been processed so far, with about 81,000 approved, according to the department.
Applications for the program — formally known as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or DSNAP — are being handled in phases, with people assigned specific days to submit their requests based on their home parish and the first letter of their last name. More details about the schedule and eligibility requirements are available online at dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP or by texting LADSNAP to 898-211.
Eligible parishes include: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes.