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State poised to give food stamps to more affluent people | State Politics – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-09-11 19:30:00 –

Up to 150,000 households (including 6-digit salary households) who are otherwise unqualified are expected to apply for food stamps as they will be relaxed to help recover from Hurricane Aida. ..

Louisiana has 832,088 individuals in 401,531 households who have already received food stamps. That’s about 18% of the state’s 4.6 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) residents. This is due to low income. A family of four costs $ 34,452 a year. SNAP recipients are covered and receive $ 680 per month to purchase groceries (the amount will increase by $ 835 on October 1st). Therefore, you do not need to sign up for a program that covers disasters.

In the event of a disaster, the USDA will extend the rules to make these benefits available to high-income households, as authorities expect to do this week.

The purpose, called D-SNAP, is to support more middle-class homes. The median income of Louisiana is $ 51,073 per year. However, the rules are tailored to the amount of hurricane damage suffered by survivors, allowing virtually everyone at all income levels to qualify, depending on the amount of damage and individual circumstances. increase.

Since October 1st, the number of people receiving food stamps in Louisiana is about $ 155 more for a family of four, and the benefits will skyrocket.

The state’s Department of Child and Family Services, called DCFS, cannot say how many rich people have been qualified in the past, as the qualification formula reduces total income by the amount of damage costs.

“For those who make a lot of money but don’t have access to the incoming income, their business is closed due to a storm and all other resources have to focus on recovery,” says Baton. Danny Mintz, head of safetynet policy for the Rouge-based Louisiana Budget Project, said it is an organization that studies financial policy and advocates for low- and middle-income earners.

“But the important message is that if they think they may be too much to qualify and they are suffering losses and experiencing difficulties, it would be worth applying,” he said. Added.

After last year’s Hurricane Roller, of the 101,000 people who showed interest, 31,707 households called to formally apply. Of that number, 25,489 households, representing 52,927, received D-SNAP.

The State Department of Child and Family Services needs to estimate how many households can apply for the Hurricane Ida event for the federal government. The Department of Agriculture also needs to prepare for the tsunami of the application after the USDA makes the final nod.

They looked at past experiences of hurricane stuff and other storms that affected the same 25 parishes as Aida, as well as Hurricane Laura, which hit southwestern Louisiana last year, and investigated the damage caused by recent storms. I best guessed 150,000 applications. ..

The agency can train about 700 staff, enter a lot of income and expense figures, press a button and immediately tell most applicants if they are eligible and how much. Handles sophisticated computer programs that you can. Benefits appear like a credit card paying for the purchase at the store’s cashier. The card will be mailed to the recipient of D-SNAP.

As grocery stores close and freezers thaw rapidly, states and food banks are struggling to deliver food to hurricane victims.

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DCFS staff organizes a three-step operation in which applicants from a particular parish (the parish where postal delivery and power have been restored and grocery stores have been reopened) call at specific times. .. DCFS wants to process the application with less than 10 minutes of latency and minimal time.

Until Hurricane Laura, people had to line up to apply directly. Currently, applications are processed by phone, probably from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm. Even pre-qualified individuals must call to formally apply.

Due to the number of storms landing in Louisiana, DCFS staff are familiar with application issues and know the questions to ask.

“If we have no experience here in Louisiana, we have nothing,” said Shavana Howard, Assistant Secretary of State for Family Support, DCFS, who oversees D-SNAP. “They ask about various costs you might not have thought about. Did you have to buy a supper? Did you have to buy gas?”

Eligibility, like many others in government, is a complex process.

Very generally, for regular food stamps, the total annual income for a family of four should be no more than $ 34,452. In addition, if you deduct rent and utilities, child support, and other permissible expenses, your net income cannot exceed $ 26,508 per year.

If both total and net income levels are met, a family of four will receive $ 680 per month to purchase groceries.

D-SNAP exempts some requirements.

For example, there is no total income standard. Applicants must meet a net income of $ 2,990 or less per month. That’s $ 35,880 a year. However, the calculation that determines net income includes a deduction for disaster-related costs.

DCFS examines the applicant’s takeaway wages the month following the disaster and adds all available cash resources, such as checks and savings account balances. Then subtract the amount spent or expected to be spent on disaster-related costs in the 30 days from that total. This is set by the USDA when the order is placed, but can start a few days before Hurricane Ida lands. August 29th.

Disaster-related costs include food lost during a power outage, home repairs, medical or funeral costs, appliances and tools, dependent care, moving costs, generators, mops and cleaning agents, and even pet boarding costs. Covers a wide range including.

The criteria are spelled out on the DCFS website.

“All scenarios are very different. You can earn $ 150,000 a year, but you can qualify for the loss of your entire home, the closure of your business, or the widespread damage. “I will,” said Howard. “That’s why we usually don’t put out income limits because they vary from person to person. What we say … Apply when in doubt. Judge your eligibility.”

State poised to give food stamps to more affluent people | State Politics Source link State poised to give food stamps to more affluent people | State Politics

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