If you are eligible for Disaster SNAP (once known as food stamps) and have not returned to a home destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, you may be out of luck, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The News says state officials are being urged to relax the rules of the program so displaced working people temporarily living in another county may make claims. The disaster relief version of the program already has broader guidelines than the ordinary SNAP program, potentially letting in applicants who are not normally eligible:
Advocates for poor and moderate-income Texans are urging state officials to reconsider requiring that Hurricane Harvey victims return to their home counties to apply for federal disaster food relief.
Emergency food stamps to buy free groceries and hot meals should be issued to Texans displaced by the storms and flooding, even if they're temporarily far from home, two nutrition advocates said Tuesday.
"D-SNAP," or Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is aimed at people who are "scrambling to find all sorts of resources" but in most cases have never applied for food stamps, said Celia Cole, chief executive of Feeding Texas.
"There are going to be people who can't travel home to get SNAP benefits," said Cole, whose group formerly was known as the Texas Food Bank Network.
Rachel Cooper of the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities also said the state Health and Human Services Commission's policy is too burdensome.
"If your car's flooded out and you're staying in a motel or shelter in another city, then how are you supposed to do this?" she asked.
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the program would begin in 11 mostly rural counties starting Wednesday.
People have one week to apply. From Wednesday through Sunday, only those with last names beginning with certain letters can come to one location in each of the 11 counties.
Commission spokeswoman Carrie Williams said the requirement to file in home counties isn't onerous. State officials followed federal guidance on that and giving people one week to apply, she said. Benefits are loaded on "Lone Star Cards" and will be good for two months.
"D-SNAP is geared toward helping people as they return home to rebuild and try to get back to normal - with housing and refrigeration and a place to store the food that they purchased using a benefit card," Williams said.
Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/harvey/2017/09/12/texas-draws-criticism-insisting-applications-disaster-food-stamps-filed-home-counties
For more information on the Disaster SNAP program, go to: