Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services loaded extra SNAP money onto most food stamp cards today.
"Many Louisiana households who received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in March will see an extra boost on their SNAP cards on March 31," according to a news release.
It follows a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Did Congress pass a bill that includes emergency food aid?
Yes, on March 18, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes additional food assistance for some families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are we going to have D-SNAP (Disaster SNAP) benefits?
There is no D-SNAP at this time. The federal government is using other options for providing additional food assistance through the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (see above). If any additional options become available, we will make announcements on our DCFS website and Facebook page.
What food assistance is available to me?
If you are not a current SNAP recipient, you can apply online for regular SNAP benefits. More information on this can be found at www.dcfs.la.gov/getsnap.
Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, DCFS is also issuing supplemental SNAP benefits to SNAP households who do not already receive the maximum monthly allotment for households of their size. For more information about supplemental SNAP benefits, see below.
I’m quarantined and/or staying home as advised by officials. Do I have to go into an office to apply for SNAP or to receive supplemental SNAP benefits?
No, you don’t have to come into a DCFS office to apply for SNAP or to receive supplemental SNAP benefits! You can apply for regular SNAP benefits online or by downloading a paper application and then mailing or faxing it to us. For instructions on how to apply for SNAP, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP or text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898-211. If a SNAP household is eligible for supplemental SNAP benefits, the benefits will be automatically loaded onto the household’s EBT cards.
What are supplemental SNAP benefits?
Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and with authorization from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, DCFS can issue additional benefits to SNAP households to bring them up to the maximum monthly allotment for a household of their size.
By federal law, households already receiving the maximum monthly allotment for their household size cannot receive supplemental SNAP benefits.
How much will I receive in supplemental SNAP benefits?
SNAP households will receive supplemental SNAP benefits in an amount that will bring them up to the maximum monthly allotment for a household of their size.
For example, for a household of 4 people, the maximum monthly allotment is $646. If that household normally receives $400 in monthly SNAP benefits based on their income and expenses, they will now receive an additional $246 to bring their total monthly benefit up to the $646 max for their household size, for each month that supplemental SNAP benefits are issued.
For a list of the maximum monthly SNAP allotments by household size, see the previous question.
When will I receive my supplemental SNAP benefits?
For March, current SNAP households who already received March benefits, and who are not already receiving the maximum monthly allotment for their household size, will receive March supplements on their EBT cards on Tuesday, March 31.
New applicants who applied for benefits in March, but had not been certified as eligible and received March benefits before March 30, will receive their March benefits and supplements in April after being certified eligible. The benefits and supplements will be loaded onto the household’s EBT cards separately and may be a week apart in time.
For April, current SNAP recipients will receive their regular benefit amount on their regular issuance date (April 1st – 14th), followed by their supplements on April 17th.
New applicants will receive their April benefits and supplements on a rolling basis after being certified as eligible. The benefits and supplements will be loaded onto the household’s EBT cards separately and may be a week apart in time.
Do I have to use my supplemental SNAP benefits right away?
No. SNAP benefits, including supplements, are good for up to 365 days from the date of issuance.
I received a letter telling me to reapply for benefits by April 15, 2020. Is this deadline still in effect?
If you received a letter telling you to reapply for your benefits by April 15, 2020, please know that your case has been temporarily extended and you will NOT receive an interview at this time due to the COVID-19 virus. In the coming months, DCFS will mail you a notice with your new interview date and time.
If you applied for benefits and have not yet been interviewed, please know that you may not have a formal interview. However, your worker may contact you for additional information, which may determine your eligibility for SNAP.
Have the work requirements for SNAP been suspended due to the coronavirus?
The rule that SNAP recipients who are classified as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) can receive only three months of SNAP benefits without meeting federal work requirements has been temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. (The rule would have gone into effect for 50 non-waived parishes in Louisiana on April 1.)
Mandatory work participation through the LaJET program in Orleans, Caddo, Ouachita, and Rapides parishes has also been suspended.