The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received federal approval Sept. 14 to begin Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) operations to provide additional food aid to families impacted by Hurricane Ida.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) reportedly approved a DSNAP operation for the following parishes and ZIP codes:
- 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 (only lower St. Martin parish ZIP codes 70339 and 70380), St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
According to a news release, the interview process will run in three phases beginning on Monday, Sept. 20.
According to USDA FNS rules, DSNAP cannot begin in communities until all other federal disaster food assistance in a parish has ended (including PODs and Disaster Household Distribution), power and telephone/internet connectivity are restored, mail delivery is in operation and grocery store shelves are open.
DSNAP, formerly known as 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. DSNAP is a means-tested program. 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). Each IA-approved parish must also request DSNAP before the benefits can be provided to eligible residents of that parish.
SNAP recipients are not eligible for DSNAP and should not apply. Information about SNAP benefits changes related to Hurricane Ida, including replacement benefits for food lost due to power outages, can be found at www.dcfs.la.gov/page/snap-updates
What Applicants Need to Know
Due to ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, DSNAP applications will be handled by phone, and benefits cards will be mailed to approved applicants through the U.S. Postal Service.
Residents in the approved parishes can call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center, 1-888-524-3578, to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP. Applicants should call 1-888-524-3578, select their language, prompt 6 and then 1 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Translation services are available for individuals whose primary language is not English.
Residents are encouraged, but not required, to take the following steps before calling to apply for DSNAP:
- Pre-register online first. Step-by-step instructions can be found at www.dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP.
- Download the LA Wallet mobile app for identity and residency verification. Information on the app, including download links, can be found at LAWallet.com
- Gather all information needed for the application. A list of what is needed can be found in the FAQs at www.dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP
Residents who pre-registered or applied for DSNAP since March 2020 do not need to pre-register again.
PHASE 1 – September 20-25
E. Baton Rouge, E. Feliciana, Iberia, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Washington, W. Baton Rouge and W. Feliciana
Day 1 (Monday, Sept. 20) – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Day 2 (Tuesday, Sept. 21) – G-M
Day 3 (Wednesday, Sept. 22) – N-S
Day 4 (Thursday, Sept. 23) – T-Z
Day 5 (Friday, Sept. 24) – Open for all (letters A-Z) in the Phase 1 parishes
Day 6 (Saturday, Sept. 25) – Open for all (letters A-Z) in the Phase 1 parishes
PHASE 2 – September 27-October 2
Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, Jefferson, Livingston, Plaquemines, St. Helena, St. Martin (lower St. Martin Parish ZIPs only 70339 & 70380), St. Mary and Tangipahoa
Day 1 (Monday, Sept. 27) – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Day 2 (Tuesday, Sept. 28) – G-M
Day 3 (Wednesday, Sept. 29) – N-S
Day 4 (Thursday, Sept. 30) – T-Z
Day 5 (Friday, Oct. 1) – Open for all (letters A-Z) in the Phase 2 parishes
Day 6 (Saturday, Oct. 2) – Open for all (letters A-Z) in the Phase 2 parishes
PHASE 3 – October 4-9
Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and Terrebonne
Day 1 (Monday, Oct. 4) – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Day 2 (Tuesday, Oct. 5) – G-M
Day 3 (Wednesday, Oct. 6) – N-S
Day 4 (Thursday, Oct. 7) – T-Z
Day 5 (Friday, Oct. 8) – Open for all (letters A-Z) in the Phase 3 parishes
Day 6 (Saturday, Oct. 9) – Open for all (letters A-Z) in the Phase 3 parishes
Additional information about DSNAP can be found by texting LADSNAP to 898-211 or by visiting www.dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP.