2012-12-14 / Top Stories

Disaster Nutrition Assistance Available To December 18

Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar announced that from now through December 18, New York City will begin implementing a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) for individuals and families in New York City zip codes most affected by Hurricane Sandy. From December 12 through December 18, households living in the designated zip codes that do not currently get regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits can apply for DSNAP benefits (formerly known as disaster food stamps) to receive a onetime benefit equal to the maximum monthly regular SNAP benefit for the household’s size ($526 for a family of three). Under D-SNAP, households in twelve zip codes located in Coney Island, the Rockaways, and parts of Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan, may be eligible for a benefit if their income, before accounting for disaster-related expenses, is less than 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, a higher threshold than the ongoing SNAP. It is projected that approximately $12.9 million in D-SNAP benefits may be provided to city residents as a result of this program. New York City received the approval last week.

D-SNAP will be implemented by the Human Resources Administration (HRA) from December 12 until December 18, 2012, to aid households in neighborhoods located in ten zip codes and two partial zip codes hardest hit by the storm. The criteria used in identifying the target areas for D-SNAP in New York City included: storm surge that caused flooding and substantial property damage in a large portion of the targeted area; substantial and extended power outages that continued for more than two weeks after the storm; and concentration of NYC Housing Authority developments that were without power, heat or hot water for substantial periods of time after the storm.

Only residents that lived in these zip codes and suffered damage to their home or business, or who lost income or had other storm-related expenses, will be eligible. Residents of the identified disaster area who do not receive SNAP and meet eligibility requirements need to apply in person for D-SNAP.

Clients who already receive SNAP:

Clients who reside in these zip codes and already receive SNAP cannot apply – their November benefit will automatically be increased to the maximum allotment for their household size, and the increase will be issued automatically on recipients' current Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.

Current SNAP recipients who received the maximum benefit amount for their household size during the month of November are not eligible for and will not receive the D-SNAP supplement. “Experience from other jurisdictions

who have dealt with disasters made it clear that this benefit must be targeted to those most in need and that it should be implemented in a central location where applicants can be seen and processed in a timely fashion,” said Commissioner Doar.

To Apply for D-SNAP

To be eligible for D-SNAP in New York City, applicants must:

 Not be a current SNAP recipient;

 Have lived in one of these designated, hardest hit zip codes as of October 27, 2012:

Coney Island, Brooklyn (zip code 11224 and 11235)

Red Hook, Brooklyn (zip code 11231)

Gerritsen Beach South of Allen Avenue, Brooklyn (partial area of zip code 11229)

Lower East Side, Manhattan (zip code 10002)

 Staten Island: Southeast shore (zip code 10306), and North Midland Beach South of Seaview Avenue (partial area of zip code 10305)

 The Rockaways, Queens (zip codes 11691, 11692, 11693, 11694, and 11697)

 Must have sustained at least one of the following adverse effects due to the storm:

 Storm-related damage to their household’s home or self-employment business;

 Paid other un-reimbursed disaster-related expenses between October 27 and November 25. (The cost of food lost due to the disaster is not an allowable expense, but the cost of meals purchased at restaurants because of the storm is allowable.)

 Have lost income or been unable to access liquid resources (cash, bank accounts) between October 27 and November 25.

 Must meet the D-SNAP income guidelines.

Applicants, or authorized representatives applying on behalf of a household (see below for details), must apply in person at one of these two locations:

 495 Clermont Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, from December 12 to December 18 between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. On the first two days, applications at this location will only be accepted alphabetically, according to the first initial of the applicant’s last name: A-M on Wednesday, December 12 and N-Z on Thursday, December 13. From Friday, December 14 to

Tuesday, December 18 applications will be accepted regardless of applicant’s last name.

 New Dorp High School Cafeteria, in Staten Island (465 New Dorp Lane): Friday, December 14, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, December 15- 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday, December 17, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Applicants will need to bring any relevant documents to support their application. Applicants should bring documents that verify the following:

Applicants must be able to verify their identity in order to receive D-SNAP benefits. Applicants who cannot verify their identity will have their applications denied immediately.

 Residency in one of the targeted zip codes on October 27, 2012.

 Income during the period between October 27, 2012 and November 25, 2012.

Un-reimbursed storm-related expenses paid between October 27, 2012 and November 25, 2012.

Other documents verifying liquid resources (savings and checking accounts) and family composition also will be reviewed and will assist in determining eligibility.

 If applicants are not currently residing in their homes because of stormrelated damage, they should provide a reliable alternative mailing address to which a benefit card can be mailed.

Applicants, or authorized representatives applying on behalf of a household, who knowingly provide inaccurate or incomplete information as part of a DSNAP application could face criminal prosecution and disqualification of benefits. HRA will investigate suspected fraud, and will aggressively pursue recoupment and possibly prosecution. Electronic systems checks will be made to preclude duplicate participation. Income and resource verification checks will be conducted against bank and employer databases. Additionally, post-disaster reviews of individual case files will be conducted to verify eligibility determinations.

Under the D-SNAP guidelines, for a family of one, the monthly income limit is $2,268 with a benefit of $200; for a family of two is $2,965 limit with a $367 benefit; for a family of three is $3,416 limit with a $526 benefit; and, for a family of four is $4,034 limit with a $668 benefit.

Eligible applicants with mobility issues may send a family member, friend or neighbor, to represent them and apply on their behalf. This authorized representative must be designated in writing by an adult member of the applying household, and must be very knowledgeable about the applicant household’s circumstances. They must be able to answer questions about income, resources, and other issues on the applicant household’s behalf and should bring all the necessary documentation mentioned above. Application forms will available at D-SNAP locations and can be downloaded as of December 11, 2012 from HRA’s website at NYC.gov.

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