HUMAN SERVICES URGES COUNTIES TO USE DISCRETION PROCESSING D-SNAP
Benefit is for residents with disaster-related material losses TRENTON, NJ – Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez today urged counties to assess carefully their need to continue providing disaster-related Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (D-SNAP) applications to residents who are not current recipients of NJ-SNAP, but who have experienced extreme material losses during Hurricane Irene or subsequent flooding. To date, just five counties have requested, and been granted, four-day extensions.
Residents in every county were made eligible for D-SNAP benefits with the federal disaster declaration in early September. However, some counties were more severely impacted than others with storm-related damage. Counties that choose to extend the application time-period must make a formal request through DHS to obtain federal approval. It also is recommended that they provide D-SNAP specific processing locations, with ample staff and security to manage the crowds of people seeking assistance before the federally-imposed deadline.
“We have heard the reports about the long lines of people winding around buildings, waiting for hours to apply for D-SNAP,” said Velez. “It is why we encouraged the counties to open multiple locations and get the word out early to residents about the program.”
The food assistance supplement, authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), operated by DHS and administered by the counties has ended or will expire in many areas over the next few days. Each county independently decides whether to request a four-day extension based upon the needs of their community and disaster-related losses.
“The D-SNAP program is designed to provide some relief to individuals and families who have sustained losses other than just food,” said Velez. “County workers will be making legitimate inquiries of applicants to ensure that residents who incurred storm-related costs are granted an appropriate supplement.”
Residents applying for D-SNAP will be asked for identification, proof of residence and information regarding disaster-related losses. Individuals who have costs unassociated with the hurricane or flooding are not qualified.
“It’s important for counties to be vigilant with the criteria of this program to ensure that the integrity of this federal benefit is protected,” added Velez. “We want to be able to serve the New Jersey families that experienced unimaginable losses.”
Counties that have been granted four-day extensions for D-SNAP applications include: Somerset, Morris, Mercer, Passaic and Sussex. D-SNAP is for individuals and families not already receiving monthly NJ SNAP benefits. Please check, www.njsnap.org for the full list of counties, locations and deadlines.