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Florida's D-SNAP serves over 300,000 families

Lee County site to open Oct. 26

October 13, 2017
Special to THE CITIZEN ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Department of Children and Families and U.S. Department of Agriculture have implemented the Food for Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program in 24 counties as of Oct. 12, officials reported.

Food for Florida has elicited an unprecedented response from those recovering from Hurricane Irma and DCF has mobilized more than 5,900 staff, including 1,450 temporary staff hired to aid with the response, to 32 sites. To date, emergency federal food assistance benefits have been provided to more than 300,000 families. It is the largest Disaster SNAP food assistance program activation in history.

"The Florida Department of Children and Families is doing everything possible to ensure every family receives the resources and help they need as quickly as possible," DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in a prepared statement. "We understand that many locations are experiencing lines and we appreciate the patience and understanding of the more than 300,000 families we've served in this process.

"We will continue to work around the clock processing applications to minimize wait-times and help get Florida families back on their feet," he said. "To help make sure you are able to move through the application process as quickly as possible, DCF asks that Floridians continue to pre-register online and follow the site guidance below."

For most applicants who pre-registered and applied electronically, DCF has deposited D-SNAP funds into their accounts by the next business day.

To qualify, applicants must have lived or worked in one of the 48 federally-declared disaster counties on Sept. 5 and not receive food assistance through the regular SNAP Program. Additionally, applicants must have suffered a disaster-related loss, such as damage to their homes or self-employment property, loss of food, reduction or loss of income, or have incurred other disaster related expenses.

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To pre-register, an applicant needs a valid Florida driver license or identification card.

Those who pre-register must still visit a Food for Florida disaster site to be interviewed; only the head of household needs to visit the site. Individuals may also wait and apply at the disaster program site.

In Lee County, a site will be set up at the Lee County Port Authority's overflow parking lot on Chamberlin Parkway in Fort Myers. It will be open Oct. 26-31, with service based on last name:

- Oct. 26: A-E

- Oct. 27: F-I

- Oct. 28: J-M

- Oct. 29: N-P

- Oct. 30: Q-Z

- Oct. 31: Make-up day

In addition to those served at the Food for Florida sites, more than 2.4 million individuals already receiving food assistance automatically received benefits to bring them to the maximum benefit amount. These families do not need to apply or show up at a program site to receive these benefits.

Additionally, DCF applied for federal food assistance program waivers and provided:

- Early release of food assistance benefits prior to Hurricane Irma making landfall to help families prepare for Hurricane Irma

- Hot Foods Waiver, and a subsequent extension, to allow families to purchase prepared food with their EBT card at participating retailers

- Extended the time frame to report food loss from 10 to 20 days

- Mass food assistance replacement benefits for September SNAP recipients in 52 counties effected by Hurricane Irma

- Extended October SNAP re-certification deadlines for three months

Source: Florida Department of Children and Families



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