DSNAP approved for Washington, 24 other parishes
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) received federal approval Tuesday 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) approved a DSNAP operation for the following parishes and ZIP codes: Washington, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, 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, Terrebonne, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
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.
When residents call to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP, a worker will verify the applicant’s identity and residency, and obtain information about their income, resources and disaster-related expenses incurred between Aug. 26, 2021, and Sept. 24, 2021. Most applicants will be told on the phone immediately after completing their application and interview whether they have been approved to receive DSNAP and, if so, the amount of benefits they will receive. Applicants will also receive a letter by mail, confirming the eligibility decision made on their application.
Applicants may name an Authorized Representative (AR) to apply for DSNAP benefits on their behalf. The head of household must authorize the person to serve as AR on their behalf, and the worker will need to speak to the head household to confirm that they agree for the AR to speak on their behalf.
Residents should call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP on their designated day (according to the first letter of their last name) or on the A-Z days, which are open to all residents in the approved parishes and ZIP codes for each phase. Parishes were assigned to each phase based on power, telephone/internet connectivity, mail delivery and grocery stores are open at the time the DSNAP request was submitted.
Phase 1 — Sept. 20-25
Washington, St. Tammany, E. Baton Rouge, E. Feliciana, Iberia, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, 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 — Sept. 27-Oct. 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 will be from Oct. 4-9 and for residents in Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and Terrebonne parishes.
Additional information about DSNAP can be found by texting LADSNAP to 898-211 or by visiting www.dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP.