There comes a time in everyone’s life when things don’t go exactly their way. Things can happen that cause a person to go through severe distress. One direct cause of such stress is natural disasters. Thankfully, the government keeps in mind that disasters can strike at any point. There are plenty of government disaster-related assistance programs such as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) that can help during times of need.
Let’s Talk About D-SNAP
The program provides food assistance to eligible households that go through food loss or damage due to a natural disaster. However, the president must give an Individual Assistance declaration to a state so they can begin running the program. Once the declaration is received, the state must request to operate D-SNAP from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is then up to USDA for approval so the state can start operating the program.
Once a state is approved to provide D-SNAP benefits, the program will operate similarly to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This includes the use of the same Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards that eligible applicants will use to buy food items at approved stores.
How To Qualify For D-SNAP
The idea behind D-SNAP is to help people that have been through disasters. For that reason, eligibility for receiving D-SNAP benefits may differ significantly from the qualifications required for other programs. To qualify for assistance through D-SNAP, applicants must be dealing with one or more of the following disaster-related expenses:
- Home repairs
- Business repairs
- Evacuation expenses
- Relocation expenses
- Temporary shelter expenses
- Personal injury expenses
- Missing income due to the disaster or a lack of access to income (which includes terminated, delayed, or lowered receipt of income, for a large part of the benefit period).
- Loss of food after a disaster like a power outage or flooding (in some cases)
One more thing to keep in mind is that if you already receive SNAP benefits, you can ask for a supplement when your state begins operating D-SNAP. If approved, your supplement will cause your benefits to increase to the maximum amount allowed for your household size. To qualify for such a supplement, you must meet the following qualifications:
- You are currently receiving less than the monthly maximum in benefits
- You are dealing with expenses and losses due to a disaster
If you are an existing SNAP recipient, and you lost any qualifying food items that you bought with your SNAP funds in a disaster, you may also be eligible for a replacement on those items. In all cases, you should contact your local SNAP and D-SNAP offices for any more information on the programs.
Applying For D-SNAP
Those who go through disaster-related hardship might benefit from applying for D-SNAP. Usually, states will announce information regarding the program to the press and local media once the program starts. The information released is meant to help you understand more details regarding applying and qualifying for the program. States may also provide information regarding the working days of the program, as well as other details in your local area. However, you may also find information on the program through the SNAP state directory.
More Assistance During a Disaster
D-SNAP is not the only disaster-related government assistance program. Those who need the help as a result of a disaster may also find the following programs beneficial:
- The Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program for Individuals and Businesses
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program for Individuals and Businesses
Those who go through a federally-declared disaster may be eligible for an extension on their time to file and pay taxes that they owe with this assistance program. To learn more about the program, check out the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) News From Around the Nation. All you’ll need to do is click on your state to get the list of returns and payments that are eligible for an extension as well as view other tax-related benefits.
Most commonly, eligibility for this program will depend on if you:
- Live in a county that the IRS identified as eligible for disaster tax relief
- Make sure your address is up to date with the IRS
One of the biggest perks of the Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program for Individuals and Businesses is that your account is automatically coded for filing and payment relief as long as the conditions above are met. Besides that, for any other information or questions, contact the IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
This type of assistance is available to people who lost their employment or had their employment interrupted due to a natural disaster. Disaster Unemployment Assistance offers temporary assistance to qualified people. However, much like other assistance programs, this one requires applicants to meet certain eligibility criteria before they can receive its benefits:
- Have your job interrupted or lost as a result of a presidentially declared disaster
- Not being able to qualify for the standard unemployment insurance benefits
That’s not all. Applicants would also need to be living, working, or scheduled to work in a qualifying area. In that case, applicants may receive benefits if they:
- No longer have a job
- No longer have a place to work
- Cannot get to your job site
- Cannot perform work duties due to damage to the job site
- Were about to begin a new job that no longer exists due to the disaster
- Cannot work due to an injury caused by the disaster
- Had to become the major support for the household if the head of household died due to the disaster
People who apply for this program must be capable of working. If not, they must be victims of injuries that were caused by the disaster, or they need to be working on getting back to self employment. Applicants who wish to claim this form of assistance would need to wait until their state announces information regarding the program. Moreover, applicants should contact their state’s unemployment agency as soon as they can. Some states will only allow applicants to file their claims on the phone or online.
There’s hope for those who need support after a natural disaster. The government has numerous assistance programs to help those folks out. Among those assistance programs is D-SNAP. The program focuses on providing food assistance to people who went through a disaster and qualify for the program. On top of D-SNAP, there are other disaster assistance programs such as Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Program for Individuals and Businesses and Disaster Unemployment Assistance that can lend a helping hand to those who need it.