After the impact of Hurricane Sandy, families may experience flooding and/or sustained power outages. Families and individuals who currently receive SNAP benefits may be eligible for replacement SNAP benefits.
Through federal and state SNAP benefit program regulations it is always possible for individuals, or families who receive SNAP benefits and who lose perishable food in a “household misfortune” to obtain replacement benefits as long as they fit the criteria and follow the rules listed below:
1. Examples of household misfortune include:
- Extended power outage of 4 hours or more
- A flood
- An equipment failure (refrigerator/freezer)
- Failure to pay a utility bill
- Such situations may affect large areas, or may be specific to a single household
2. What does a family need to do to report a loss of food:
- Reports the loss, or in person within 10 days of the date of the reported loss to the local Department of Social Services (LDSS).
- Families/individuals have an additional 10 days from the day they report the loss to return a signed and completed form 2291.
- Replacement benefits should be provided to a the family within 2 business days of returning a signed and completed Form 2291 “Request for Replacement of Food Purchased with Food Stamp Benefits”.
3. Other issues to note about replacement SNAP benefits:
- When food loss is due to a power outage or cutoff (of 4 hours or more) the SNAP office must provide a replacement issuance of SNAP benefits.
- SNAP offices can issue replacement SNAP benefits up to the amount of the most recent SNAP benefit issuance for that current month.
- A family/individual may not be denied replacement SNAP benefits if it has applied for replacement issuances in the past.
- SNAP offices should not require the household to bring in spoiled food as verification of a loss.
If you think you might be eligible, call, or go to the local SNAP office. Look in the phone book under “Social Services” or “Human Services” to find the number. If you need help finding your local SNAP office, contact Lilia Torres by phone at (571) 482-4781 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information courtesy of Hunger Solutions New York (PDF)