WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2018 – Households impacted by Hurricane Michael in 12 Florida counties could be eligible for mass replacement of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced. This is one of several steps USDA is taking to ensure Floridians in need have the means to purchase food.
“Many Florida residents lost everything, including food they had previously purchased with their SNAP benefits,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps, who oversees USDA’s Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. “The replacement of SNAP benefits will help victims restock the food they need as they begin the long process of recovery,” Lipps said.
Rather than require SNAP households to report food losses individually, USDA has granted Florida the ability to approve automatic mass replacements for residents of certain counties and zip codes who suffered food losses resulting from power outages and flooding. The counties include: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington. SNAP recipients residing in other affected areas may request replacement benefits by filing an affidavit with the local office attesting to hurricane-related loss.
Lipps noted that Georgia residents participating in SNAP also received their October benefits early, to help provide some much needed relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
Today’s announcements are the latest in a series of USDA actions taken to help residents cope with the storm and its aftermath, including approval of a waiver for SNAP beneficiaries to be able to purchase ready-to-eat hot foods, normally not allowed under SNAP rules.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.