Hughes Announces Disaster Food Assistance
For Storm-Impacted Families
TRENTON, NJ – To assist County residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announces the availability of a one-time federal food assistance benefit for individuals and families who are not already enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Locally, disaster SNAP, called D-SNAP, is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services through the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Mercer County Board of Social Services. Applications for the program will begin on Monday, Nov. 26, and conclude on Monday, Dec. 3. Current SNAP recipients do not have to apply for this program because they already have received a 30 percent October replacement allocation on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and will receive a supplemental benefit by Dec. 7.
Mercer County residents can apply for the program at the following sites:
- Ewing Library, 61 Scotch Road, Ewing: Monday, Nov. 26, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people whose last name starts with letter A through M.
- Lawrence Library, Darrah Lane at Route 1, Lawrence: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for last name N through Z.
- Mercer County Connection, Route 33 at Paxson Avenue (Acme Shopping Center), Hamilton: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Last name A through M, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on those days; last name N through Z, 2 p.m. to closing.
Eligible recipients will receive their benefits on an EBT card that only can be used for the purchase of grocery food items.
“For many of our residents, the effects of Hurricane Sandy are ongoing,” said Hughes. “We are committed to ensuring that our residents receive whatever assistance is available to aid them during this time.”
- Application rules and eligibility for D-SNAP have been modified based on lessons learned after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Misinformation about the program caused long lines at designated application sites and created a potential for fraudulent activity. This year, strict criteria must be met in order for people to qualify.
“We know that millions of people throughout the state were without power and as a result lost perishable food supplies, but D-SNAP is a federal safety-net subsidy available only to people who are at risk for hunger because their disaster-recovery expenses have left them without enough money to buy food,” said New Jersey DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez.
Under the new rules, D-SNAP applicants must provide:
- Identification and proof of residency – a driver’s license, for example, would serve as both.
- Pay stubs and bank statements (cash, checking and savings) for the 30 days from Oct. 28 through Nov. 26. Under the guidelines, for a family of one, the income limit is $2,268 with a benefit of $200; a family of two is $2,965 limit with a $367 benefit; a family of three is $3,416 limit with a $526 benefit; and, a family of four is $4,034 limit with a $668 benefit. For additional income limits and allotments, go to www.njsnap.org.
- Receipts that show more than $100 spent on disaster-related expenses between Oct. 28 and Nov. 26. The cost of replacing food cannot be included in the $100, but restaurant expenses are allowed. Related expenses may include: temporary shelter in a motel; home/business repairs; evacuation expenses; disaster cleanup; disaster-related vehicle repairs; gasoline for a generator; replacement of personal items, such as clothing, or household items, such as appliances, tools, educational materials.
If any of the purchases were charged to a credit card, the resident must be able to document that they paid the credit card bill for these items by Nov. 26.
For more information about the D-SNAP program, go to www.njsnap.org.
In addition to D-SNAP, Mercer County residents and businesses whose properties were damaged by Hurricane Sandy are encouraged to register for FEMA assistance online at www.fema.gov or www.disasterassistance.gov or by phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. Mercer County is hosting an in-person registration site staffed by FEMA representatives at Mercer County Community College in the Fine Arts Building to assist residents and businesses in the process. The FEMA site will be closed on Thanksgiving. On Friday, Nov. 23, it will resume operating seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., until FEMA determines it has reached those who seek potential reimbursement.