FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2005
CONTACT: Zoraya Suarez (850) 488-4855
DCF Rushes Food Stamps Ahead of Hurricane Dennis
--DCF team prepares to again help storm victims in hurricane threatened areas--
TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Children &
Families (DCF), in partnership with the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA), is speeding up the distribution of
monthly food stamp benefits ahead of Hurricane Dennis. The
measure is intended to ensure that potential storm-impacted
residents have an adequate food supply during the hurricane
The advance distribution applies only to participants of
the regular food stamp program. Counties in the panhandle
region and Florida Keys will receive immediate assistance,
District 1 (Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton),
District 2 (Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes,
Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla,
Washington), and a portion of District 11 (Monroe). By
lifting the staggered issuance, current food stamp
recipients will be able to access their designated allotment
by using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card now to
prepare for the storm.
Currently, in District 1, 18,554 families receive food
stamp benefits, while 26, 703 collect them in District 2,
and 1,875 families obtain them in Monroe County. More than
$4,000,000 in food stamp benefits has already been issued
since yesterday in these areas.
If needed, DCF and the USDA stand ready to implement the
Disaster Food Stamp program to residents outside the regular
program. Experience indicates that the size of the Disaster
Food Stamp Program on average is approximately two times the
size of the area’s regular food stamp program caseload. A
Disaster Food Stamp Program is activated following a
disaster based on certain criteria. Based on lessons learned
from last hurricane season, DCF has developed standard
guidelines to evaluate the need, scope, and implementation
of the Disaster Food Stamp Program.
In 2004, DCF and USDA, provided 1,354,856 Floridians with
$ 161,528,342in hurricane relief disaster food stamps. This
one-time assistance program provided assistance to families
not currently receiving food stamps, resided in an affected
county on the date of storm impact and experienced at least
one of the following adverse effects:
- Damage to or destruction to their home or
- Accumulated hurricane related expenses not expected
to be reimbursed. (e.g. home or business repairs,
temporary shelter expenses, evacuation expenses,
home/business protection, disaster-relate personal
injury including funeral expenses).
- Loss of or inaccessible income, including reduction
or termination of income, or delay in receipt of income.
Inaccessible liquid resources (e.g. the bank closed due
- AND must not exceed income restrictions (income will
be examined on a net monthly basis).
DCF has also built into the application process detection
of possible fraud. Trained personnel look for
inconsistencies in answers to questions posed to applicants
during application interviews.
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