Some families frustrated by DSNAP disaster aid program qualifications

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 7, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 7 at 11:40 PM

WESTWEGO, La. - People recovering from Hurricane Isaac showed up for a third day to sites looking for food stamp help.

Many families are getting relief, others say they're frustrated to learn they don't qualify.

"Mayonnaise, milk, meat," said Clint Boneau pointing to his restocked refrigerator. A $500 dollar grocery bill to replace spoiled food is what Hurricane Isaac contributed to this Gretna household.

"Everybody has a story. Everybody went through the same hurricane and lost something. And everyone of us lost food, " said Boneau. The Westbank man is on disability and he hoped that applying for DSNAP disaster aid would help ease the financial burden of replacing lost groceries.

However, Boneau and his housemate Sharon Brock were both told they don't qualify for the disaster food stamps. Brock says she recently suffered from a stroke, isn't working but was told she makes too much money to qualify for DSNAP.

"Something would have been better then nothing and the fact that we've both gotten nothing, we're being punished," said Boneau.

The Department of Children and Family Services says the agency is required to use a federal formula to determine who qualifies.

"With this program not everyone will qualify because it is income based, based of the federal government," said Trey Williams, a spokesman for the Department of Children & Family Services. So far, Williams says only a small number of applicants have been turned away.

"Well below 10 percent of the people that have applied and came to the sites were actually turned down," said Williams.

While some families are being told they are not eligible for DSNAP, others are having better luck.

"I have three people in my household so I think it was $586," said one DSNAP recipient.

"I'm coming all the way from Kenner but it was really quick. I spent like seven minutes here," said Kenner Jennifer Solorcano who brought her grandmother to the site for disaster aid.

On Friday night a stream of happy faces exited the Alario Center in Marrero with DSNAP EBT cards in hand, ready to start replacing what Isaac destroyed.

"A couple hundred dollars. You can't replace seafood nowadays," said Westwego resident, Hope Lanasa of what was lost in her home.

The Department of Children and Family Services says so far, $11 million in benefits have been issued to more than 27,000 people. 

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