Georgia residents who receive food stamps now have additional time to report food lost due to power outages during Hurricane Irma.
Recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) who were affected by Hurricane Irma have until Oct. 2 to file forms requesting a replacement for food lost during storm-related power outages.
The Oct. 2 deadline allows recipients of SNAP, traditionally known as food stamps, 10 additional days to request a replacement of their benefits.
The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services sought the deadline extension to help low-income families–many of whom were displaced from their homes for several days–feed their families as they recover from the effects of the storm. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which oversees the food stamp program in Georgia, approved the state’s request early this week, allowing families additional time to report losses.
Approximately 1.6 million Georgians rely on SNAP assistance to feed their families.
“We know families are facing several challenges in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and we don’t want feeding their families to be one of them,” said Bobby Cagle, Director of the Division of Family and Children Services. “We are grateful for the USDA’s support in our efforts to support Georgia families in their time of need, and we hope, by extending the deadline to report food losses, we will relieve at least some of the anxiety families are experiencing as they continue to recover from this storm.”
The deadline extension is part of an ongoing effort by Georgia DFCS and FNS to support families affected by the hurricane.
Ahead of the storm’s arrival, the Division worked with FNS to release all food stamp benefits for the month of September, which was an early release for most recipients in the state. DFCS has also requested assistance from FNS to provide a mass benefit replacement for recipients who live in counties that were most affected by the storm.
That request, which would eliminate the need for some recipients to file paperwork to receive a replacement, is still pending with FNS.
Georgia DFCS has also worked to support utility companies as they focus on efforts to restore residents’ power. The Division has temporarily eliminated the need for recipients to go to utility companies to verify individual outages related to Hurricane Irma.
In most situations where power outages cause food purchased with SNAP funds to perish, SNAP policy requires recipients to report the loss off food via a Food Loss Replacement Form (Form 841). Customers typically have 10 days after the loss to submit the form, which includes a verification of the outage by the recipient’s electricity provider, to their local DFCS office.
Recipients whose food was lost in Hurricane Irma must submit the Food Loss Replacement Form (Form 841) in person or by mail to the local DFCS office no later than Oct. 2. The form does not need to be accompanied with verification from the utility company.
To locate a county DFCS office, visit: http://dfcs.georgia.gov/county-offices. To download Form 841, visit https://dfcs.georgia.gov/food-stamp-benefits-replacement.