Jul 29, 2014

Irene Aid Extends to Food Stamps

Federal assistance coming to the state in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene includes for food assistance.

Irene Aid Extends to Food Stamps

Low-income residents who had food spoil due to a power outage or flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Irene are eligible for federal aid, according to the state Department of Social Services.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service has approved $13 million in replacement benefits for residents enrolled in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

Across the state 208,000 low-income households are enrolled in the program. In Newtown, 247 households are enrolled. Nearby, Naugatuck households number 1,595, Monroe, 168; Oxford, 145; Southbury, 213; Woodbury, 124; Middlebury, 95; Danbury, 3503; Brookfield, 187; and Bethel, 345.

The replacement benefits amounts to about 25-percent of a household's monthly allocation for August, which can translate to a one-time increase from $4 to more than $300 depending on income and household size, state officials said.

The benefits have recently been electronically transmitted to accounts and can only be used to buy federally-approved food items at supermarkets and grocery stores. Only households enrolled in the program at the time the storm hi the state are eligible for the benefits, officials said.

"With enrollment continuing to grow in the current economy, we believe this extra benefit will be especially helpful to thousands of families who lost food and are struggling to make ends meet at the lowest income level," Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said in a recently issued press release.

Households also may be eligible for an extra so-called "individual SNAP replacement benefit," if they have had food items spoil that have a value of more than 25-percent of its August SNAP allocation, state officials said. The total amount of replacement benefits cannot exceed what households received in August, state officials said.

Below is information on how to apply from the state social services department.

In order to be eligible, SNAP recipients must report their food loss by calling 2-1-1; or logging in and registering at www.211ct.org. The deadline for making this report of food loss is Sept. 19 at midnight.

Recipients also must fill out and return a SNAP replacement form within 10 days of the date they report the loss. The replacement form will be mailed to people who report food losses by the Sept. 19 deadline, in accordance with federal timeframes.

The Department of Social Services will then compute the amount of individual replacement benefits, and make deposits to eligible households’ electronic benefit transfer accounts.

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