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BATON ROUGE, La. -- As the 2017 hurricane season begins, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is encouraging residents to prepare by pre-registering online for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (DSNAP), formerly called Disaster Food Stamps.
DSNAP provides food assistance for eligible households who do not receive regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.
"Food assistance is one of our department's primary responsibilities in a disaster, and we want to make sure families are prepared. Spending a little time pre-registering now will save you time later, when gathering the required income information may be more difficult and you have other things to worry about," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters.
To date, over 623,000 Louisiana families have pre-registered for DSNAP since DCFS launched the program in June 2009.
Any family that has previously pre-registered for DSNAP or has received DSNAP since August 2012 is already in the system and should not pre-register again. These families can update their financial and household information by logging into their account at www.dcfs.la.gov/preregister.
Louisiana residents who already receive SNAP benefits should not pre-register. In a disaster event, if SNAP recipients are eligible for additional benefits, the additional benefits will be added automatically to the regular monthly benefit amount or a separate process will be implemented.
To register, residents can visit www.dcfs.la.gov/preregister or www.getagameplan.org and provide the following information:
• Names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for each household member
• Current address and parish of household
• Monthly income for each household member
• All liquid resources for each household member (cash on hand, checking and savings account balances, certificates of deposit and money market balance)
The information will be kept securely on file and will be confidential.
Residents also are encouraged to follow DCFS on Facebook (www.facebook.com/LADCFS) and Twitter (@Louisiana DCFS) and to sign up for alerts about DSNAP at www.dcfs.la.gov. Click on "Sign Up for DCFS News."
Pre-registering for DSNAP does not guarantee benefits. In the event of a disaster, the state must request that the federal government initiate DSNAP, but can make the request only if the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared the parish eligible for Individual Assistance.
At that point, residents who have pre-registered only need to visit a DSNAP issuance site to verify their information and identity, determine final eligibility and receive their benefit cards. Exact eligibility requirements and DSNAP issuance sites will be announced only after a disaster is declared.
For more information on DSNAP and how to pre-register, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/dsnap.
DSNAP is administered in Louisiana by DCFS and overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.