USDA Provides Additional Food Disaster Assistance in Three California Counties Hit by Wildfires
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that households in three California counties have been approved to receive Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits. D-SNAP will be offered in parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties due to the impact of the Woolsey and Hill wildfires, and Butte County in northern California due to the Camp Fire. Households in the affected areas may be eligible if they have qualifying disaster-related expenses and meet D-SNAP income limits.
“USDA continues to work closely with state and local officials to help victims deal with the widespread damage caused by these fires,” said USDA’s Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps. “We want to do everything we can to make the recovery easier. Helping people put food on the table is one vital way we can do that.”
If a household in the affected area qualifies for D-SNAP, they could receive one month of benefits to meet their food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. Households in certain zip codes that already receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive disaster supplements, up to the maximum allotment for their household size, and are not eligible to apply for D-SNAP.
The timing and conditions of D-SNAP vary with the circumstances of each disaster, but the program always begins after access to retailers has been restored and families are able to purchase food to prepare at home. Before operating D-SNAP in an approved county, the state must ensure that conditions related to safety and readiness are in place.
Affected households should look for public information notices from the state regarding the application process, location of application sites, and dates of application in each county.
This is one of many tools that USDA has available to aid states as they recover from disasters. Today’s announcement is the latest of multiple actions taken to help California residents cope with the effects of recent wildfires:
- USDA provided assistance to an estimated 8,000 residents of Butte County and the surrounding area through the Disaster Household Food Distribution Program.
- The department recently approved California’s request to issue mass replacement of SNAP benefits to affected beneficiaries in parts of Ventura, Los Angeles, Butte and Plumas Counties.
- Butte County schools will be allowed flexibility in providing lunch and breakfast meals due to food shortages caused by road closures and hazardous conditions.
- Butte County schools are also authorized to provide breakfast and lunch to students at no cost to them due to the large number of students left homeless by the wildfire.
- On Nov. 21, USDA announced a waiver allowing residents of 14 fire-affected counties to purchase hot foods with SNAP benefits.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage America’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.