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PRESS RELEASE

Department of Social Services Prepares for Disaster Food Stamps, Warns Against Calls Asking For SS Numbers
Department of Social Services Update
BATON ROUGE, La. (September 4, 2008) - Following reports that people are lining up outside of closed parish offices for Disaster Food Stamps, the Department of Social Services (DSS) is reiterating that the first phase of the program has been launched with the distribution of food, water and ice by the National Guard. DSS is preparing for the second phase of the program which is the issuance of Disaster Food Stamp benefits. Also, any resident who gets a phone call about food stamps asking for their social security number should not respond; those requests are not coming from DSS.

Disaster Food Stamps is a federally authorized program that must be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services before it can be implemented for eligible Louisiana residents. DSS is working with the USDA/FNS to activate the Disaster Food Stamp Program (DFSP) and to set specific program eligibility criteria and benefits. The guidelines outlined below serve as the criteria to make the request for Louisiana parishes:

CRITERIA FOR PARISH BEING INLCUDED IN DFSP DECLARATION
(Must meet 2 of 3)

DATA SOURCE

CRITERIA FOR PARISH BEING ADDED TO DFSP DECLARATION

1. Power Outage - 48 hours after disaster (event) 50% of homes in the parish are without power.

Public Service Commission (PSC)

10 calendar days after landfall or disaster event at least 25% of parish residents without power as verified by Public Service Commission.

2. Wind velocity greater than 96 mph

National Weather Service

3. Flooding - 25% of the residential structures in a parish affected by flooding. Flooding is defined as water entering the residential structure.

Emergency Operations Center Staff


In addition to the above criteria, a resident of the declared parishes must also meet financial eligibility requirements. This program is intended to provide food for eligible people who find themselves suddenly, and often critically, in need following a disaster.

Distribution of mass commodities is arranged to fill the immediate need prior to the issuance of Disaster Food Stamps. The National Guard is currently providing food, ice and water in the hardest hit areas of the state.

Specific details on the timeline, the locations and issuance of Disaster Food Stamp benefits will be announced as soon as they are available.

For the latest information on Hurricane Gustav, you can visit emergency.louisiana.gov or call the state's emergency hotline at 1-866-288-2484 to listen to a recorded message with the most up-to-date information.

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