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Temporary Food Needs.
Iowa Ag Connection - 09/15/2023

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that low-income Hawaii residents recovering from the devastating wildfires beginning August 8, 2023, could be eligible for assistance from the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that approximately 16,000 households that may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, rules may qualify for D-SNAP if they meet certain criteria.

“USDA is committed to making sure that those recovering from the devastating Hawaii wildfires get the vital food assistance they need,” Vilsack said. “Helping victims of the wildfires is a top priority for President Biden, and we will continue working to expedite access to USDA’s nutrition assistance programs because we recognize that the crisis doesn’t end when the smoke clears. For many families, it may be just beginning.”

To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must either live or work in an identified disaster area, be affected by the disaster and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Eligible households will receive one month of benefits – equal to the maximum monthly amount for a SNAP household of their size – that they can use to purchase groceries at SNAP-authorized stores or from select retailers online to meet temporary food needs. Hawaii will operate its D-SNAP in two phases:

Maui Island will accept applications at the designated site location for six consecutive days, beginning September 18, 2023, through September 23, 2023. Honolulu County, Kauai County, Hawaii County, and other sites in Maui County will accept applications at the designated site locations for five consecutive days, beginning September 18, 2023, through September 22, 2023. The timing of D-SNAP varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster, but it always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP, a state must ensure that the proper public information, staffing, and resources are in place.

Although current SNAP households are not eligible for D-SNAP, USDA has also approved Hawaii to automatically issue supplemental SNAP benefits to current SNAP households in the 96761, 96767 and 96790 zip codes up to the maximum amount for their household size if they don’t already receive that amount.

This announcement today is the latest in a series of FNS actions taken to help Hawaii residents cope with the wildfires and their aftermath, which also include:

Approving a waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through October 14, 2023.

Approving a mass replacements waiver to SNAP participants in Maui County, allowing households to receive replacement of benefits lost due to power outages as a result of the wildfires.

Approving a waiver for the 10-day reporting requirement for food purchased with SNAP benefits that was lost as a result of power outages in the following seven zip codes in Maui County and Hawaii County: 96743, 96753, 96755, 96761, 96768, 96788 and 96790.

Approving two waivers for flexibility with the maximum monthly allowance requirements for WIC participants. The waivers allow for substitution of non-contract infant formula brands and portion sizes of eggs, tofu, whole wheat/whole grain bread, juice and breakfast cereal.

Approving a waiver that extends the certification periods and waives the periodic reporting requirements for current SNAP households in Hawaii for up to six months due to the impact of the wildfires.


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