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Department of Social Services News Update
Department of Social Services Reminds Regular Food Stamp Recipients not to Apply for Disaster Benefits
BATON ROUGE (September 13, 2008) - More than 150,000 Louisiana residents have received help in the form of Disaster Food Stamp benefits in the past week and more than $33,400,000 has been uploaded to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. It takes between 48 and 72 hours for benefits to be uploaded EBT cards, and the program has a strict income eligibility limit.

So far, more than 4,289 cards have been rejected due to participants in the regular Food Stamp Program filling out applications and obtaining EBT cards. As stated on the application, they are not eligible for Disaster Food Stamp benefits. However, in order to give them assistance, benefits for food stamp recipients in eligible parishes were automatically lifted to the maximum amount allowable for September and August benefits were increased by 20 percent in order to replace lost food.

Parishes declared eligible for Disaster Food Stamps are: Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Catahoula, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lafourche, LaSalle, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Vermilion, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) will have a list tonight of locations that expect to be open later on Sunday and caution that with the effects of Hurricane Ike on current sites and the possibility of new parishes being added, applicants should closely monitor the Disaster Food Stamp page at www.dss.state.la.us as well as local media. They can also call 1-888-524-3578 for help finding the most current application sites.

With the possibility of Hurricane Ike necessitating the need for the activation of a second Disaster Food Stamp program, DSS is asking eligible applicants to keep their EBT cards in case they are needed again.

Individuals with disabilities can designate an authorized representative to apply for Disaster Food Stamps on their behalf. Also, each site manager has developed special procedures for assisting the disabled. Applicants with these special needs should make themselves known to the site manager or staff at the site In order to help the elderly, Council on Aging staff members have been trained to administer Disaster Food Stamps.

People 60 years of age or older should contact their local parish Councils on Aging for the nearest Disaster Food Stamp Assistance Application Site for seniors. If the local Council on Aging is not available, seniors should contact the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs at 1-877-340-9100.

For the latest information on Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, 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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