EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES AFFECTED BY JUNE 1ST STORMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2011
CONTACT: Paulette Song, paulette.song@state.ma.us, 617-573-1610

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION RECEIVES EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES AFFECTED BY JUNE 1ST STORMS

BOSTON – The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced that individuals and families affected by the June 1st tornadoes and storms in Central and Western Massachusetts can apply for benefits from the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) beginning on June 18, 2011.
Disaster SNAP, triggered by a Major Federal Disaster Declaration and awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), is a one-time food assistance benefit that is provided on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. These cards are used in the same manner as a debit or ATM card at a supermarket, grocer, or farmers’ market that accepts SNAP.
“There are many concerns following a tornado or other disaster, but few are more important than providing food in areas where people may find themselves suddenly, and often critically, in need,” said DTA Commissioner Julia Kehoe, “We are aggressively pursuing action to institute Disaster SNAP as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Today, FNS approved the Commonwealth’s request to allow those in storm-affected communities to apply for Disaster SNAP benefits. These include residents of the following cities and towns in Hampden and Worcester Counties:
 

Agawam
Brimfield
Charlton
Chicopee
Monson
Palmer
Southbridge
Springfield
Sturbridge
West Springfield
Westfield
Wilbraham

Residents can apply for Disaster SNAP between June 18th and June 24th, 2011. If approved, these residents could receive Disaster SNAP benefits within 48 hours of applying. To find out if Disaster SNAP benefits have been awarded, applicants should call 1-800-997-2555.

To apply for Disaster SNAP, individuals and families who do not currently receive SNAP should visit one of the following locations between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., including Saturday and Sunday, between June 18th and June 24th, 2011.


Springfield: Department of Transitional Assistance Office
95 Liberty Street, Springfield
413-858-1000

 

Springfield: Department of Transitional Assistance Office
310 State Street, Springfield
413-858-1300

 

Southbridge: Department of Transitional Assistance Office
1 North Street, Southbridge
508-765-2400

DTA representatives will also be available at the Department of Developmental Service Central/West Regional Office
171 State Avenue, Palmer
413-284-1563, 413-284-5090, 413-284-5091 (8am-6pm)
1-800-328-3123 (8:30am-4:30pm)

Please note: applying for Disaster SNAP is separate from registering for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Those seeking FEMA disaster assistance must register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or by applying online at www.disasterassistance.gov. To find out if they qualify for Disaster SNAP, residents should call 1-800-445-6604.
People who may not ordinarily qualify for SNAP may be eligible for Disaster SNAP if they:
• Do not already receive SNAP
• Live in the 12 communities listed above, or live in Massachusetts and work in those communities.
• Lost income in June 2011 as a result of the tornadoes and storms
• Have little or no liquid assets (for example, money in the bank)
• Have disaster-related expenses (for example, damage to their home).
Current SNAP clients are not eligible for Disaster SNAP; however, those who lost food due to the tornadoes and storms and have not received replacement SNAP benefits for the month of May can apply for replacement benefits until June 22nd, and should do so by visiting a DTA office in Springfield, Southbridge or Monson.
Verification of identity and residency is required in order to be eligible for Disaster SNAP benefits. Other eligibility factors include income, liquid resources, expenses, and household composition. If households have suffered extreme loss and all of their documents were destroyed, case managers will work with them to see if they are eligible. To ensure that fraud is not committed, DTA staff will verify that only eligible households receive Disaster SNAP benefits. Those who break SNAP rules may face serious penalties.
For general information about Disaster SNAP and tornado-related assistance, please call DTA’s hotline at 1-800-445-6604.

About SNAP
SNAP serves more than 810,000 individuals in Massachusetts by assisting low-income individuals and families with purchasing healthy food. The program is federally funded and serves as the first line of defense against hunger. Individuals, families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities who are having difficulty meeting their basic needs are encouraged to apply for SNAP benefits by visiting www.mass.gov/vg/selfservice, calling 1-866-950-FOOD, or visiting their local DTA office.


About the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)
DTA’s mission is to assist low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, increase their incomes and improve their quality of life. Located within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department ensures that the emergency and transitional needs of the individuals and families of the Commonwealth are met through a combination of state and federally-funded programs.

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