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DSNAP extended for 11 parishes

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - People in 11 parishes hard-hit by the August flooding are eligible for another round of federal food stamp aid.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services announced Monday the second month of Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, known as D-SNAP.

Households approved for D-SNAP in August will have the money automatically loaded to the debit-like cards they received.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) granted the state's request for an additional month of D-SNAP benefits for households that were issued benefits in August in Acadia, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, Tangipahoa, Vermilion and West Feliciana parishes. Regular SNAP recipients in these parishes were also approved for a second month of supplemental benefits.

"Two months after the devastating and historic floods across South Louisiana, there are tens of thousands of families in these parishes still trying to get back on their feet," said Governor John Bel Edwards. "We're thankful that the federal government recognizes the need for additional assistance for those who are living in the hardest hit parishes. Our people are working hard every day to restore their lives, and it is critical that we continue to help them with some of the basic necessities. Another month of benefits will help ease some of their worries, and hopefully lessen their burdens as they continue to recover and rebuild."

In all, 122,000 households in 21 parishes received D-SNAP benefits in the weeks after the flood, for a total of $48.9 million in D-SNAP benefits issued initially. Regular SNAP households received another $30.9 million in disaster-related benefits.

For the 11 hardest-hit parishes receiving a second month of benefits, DCFS estimates 105,689 households will receive $42 million in D-SNAP benefits, and 72,002 ongoing SNAP households will receive $11 million in supplemental benefits. Recipients will have up to a full year to use their benefits, after which benefits will expire.

"We're pleased to be able to bring a second month of DSNAP to households in our hardest-hit parishes. Those with immediate and ongoing food needs who didn't receive D-SNAP or who live outside these 11 parishes are encouraged to remember that D-SNAP isn't the only solution. Food banks are specially equipped to respond to these types of circumstances. In addition, the regular SNAP program might be another solution, and we encourage those with ongoing food needs to consider applying," DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters said.

There are a number of programming and fraud-prevention steps DCFS must take before it can issue D-SNAP benefits. Because households cannot receive both D-SNAP and SNAP, the department will run duplicate participation checks to ensure none of the households receiving D-SNAP benefits have been certified for SNAP in Louisiana or the neighboring states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

D-SNAP recipients in the eligible 11 parishes can obtain replacement disaster EBT cards at any of the following locations:

Acadia Parish - 300 E. First St., Crowley, LA 70526

Ascension Parish - 1078 E. Worthy Road, Gonzales, LA 70737

East Baton Rouge Parish - 1919 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Lafayette Parish - 825 Kaliste Saloom Road, Brandywine Complex VI, Lafayette, LA 70508

Livingston Parish - 28446 Charley Watts Road, Livingston, LA 70754

St. Landry Parish - 6069 I-49 S. Service Road, Opelousas, LA 70570

Tangipahoa Parish - 1211 NW Central Avenue, Amite, LA 70422

For questions or additional information, visit the DCFS website at www.dcfs.la.gov or contact the toll-free helpline at 1-888-LAHELP-U (1-888-524-3578).