Today's Fair Shots - September 21st, 2017
1) Watch late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel call out Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, for allegedly lying to his face about the minimum ingredients he would insist on in any health care bill. The Graham-Cassidy bill, Kimmel states, has none of those ingredients, which Cassidy himself had dubbed "The Jimmy Kimmel Test."
Cassidy took advantage of Kimmel's discussion of the health care system after Kimmel's son was born needing substantial medical care. From Kimmel's monologue, explaining why he was "politicizing" the "Kimmel test":
"With this one, your child with a pre-existing condition will get the care he needs - if, and only if, his father is Jimmy Kimmel. Otherwise, you might be screwed."
Meanwhile, do something! Call our senators (Ted Cruz and John Cornyn) and tell them to vote "No!" on Cassidy-Graham: 888-865-8089.
2) Some good news on the Hurricane Harvey recovery front arrives in a Dallas Morning News report. Texas will no longer require applicants for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) to fill out forms in their home county if they have lost property in the storm.
The reversal in policy makes sense, as thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. Via reporter Bob Garrett:
State social services officials are dropping their requirement that Hurricane Harvey victims return to their home counties to apply for federally provided disaster food relief.
On Friday, social services czar Charles Smith announced Texas will give people affected by the storm greater flexibility to apply in counties that are not their counties of residence.
"We're trying to help people where they are," said Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which administers federally provided food stamps. "If we see an issue, we're going to fix it. Getting people the food they need is the most important thing we're doing right now."
Also on Friday, Smith added seven counties to the 11 where the "D-SNAP" program launched Wednesday. D-SNAP stands for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The seven included some heavily populated counties, such as Brazoria near Houston, and Nueces, home to Corpus Christi. The commission will start taking applications from victims from the seven counties Monday and Tuesday. People will have a week to apply. Their days to apply will be staggered, based on the first letter of their last names.
Officials, however, have postponed rollout in Harris (Houston), Jefferson (Beaumont) and Victoria counties as they refine their enrollment procedures, identify "mega-sites" with local officials, shift large numbers of staff from other counties, and wait for floodwaters to recede further.
"If families have been displaced from one of the 18 counties receiving D-SNAP and cannot travel back to their home county, they can go to any local [Health and Human Services] benefits office across the state to apply for D-SNAP during the dates designated for their counties," the commission said in a release.
As with the regular food stamp program, people can receive a Lone Star Card to use while buying groceries. Because of devastation caused by Harvey, state officials are allowing regular SNAP beneficiaries in the affected areas to buy hot meals as well as groceries through Sept. 30.
Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/harvey/2017/09/15/texas-storm-victims-apply-food-stamps-far-home-adds-counties-program
3) And more good news: The Harvey deadline for applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance in Texas has been extended to Oct. 31, the Texas Workforce Commission reports.
From the news release:
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) today announced that the deadline has been extended to October 31, 2017 for individuals filing for Disaster Unemployment Assistance in all 39 counties declared in Presidential Disaster Declaration FEMA 4332-DR. This deadline extension will allow affected individuals, who may be eligible but have not yet applied, with additional time to apply for disaster unemployment assistance.
TWC is accepting applications for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) from individuals whose employment or self-employment was impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Applications from individuals who live in, work in, or travel through these counties must be submitted by October 31, 2017. TWC's website contains more information about Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
The following counties are included in the disaster declaration and amendments:
Aransas, Austin County, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Waller, Walker, and Wharton Counties
Applications can be taken online through Unemployment Benefit Services or by calling a TWC Tele-Center during the extended hours of Mondaythrough Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 800-939-6631. Individuals should specify that their applications are related to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
DUA, which is an unemployment insurance benefit made available especially for victims of disaster, is available to individuals who:
* Have applied for and used all regular unemployment benefits from any state, or do not qualify for unemployment benefits
* Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment in the disaster area
* Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster
* Establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their primary source of income
* Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster
* Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of household
To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the day the DUA application is filed. Required documentation includes Social Security number, a copy of the most recent federal income tax form or check stubs, and documentation to support that you were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred.
Applicants must mail in or fax all required documentation within 21 daysfrom the date of the DUA application. Send mailed documentation to: Texas Workforce Commission, UI Operations & Customer Support, Attn: DUA, 101 E. 15th St., N. Lamar, Austin, TX, 78778-0001, or fax it to 512-936-3250.