Catrinel Stanciu | 10/14/2005 12:25:30 AM
New guidelines have been developed for those who were eligible for the Food Stamp Program before hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as for those who may have become eligible because of the storms.
LSU AgCenter food and nutrition expert Catrinel Stanciu says evacuees who were eligible for the FSP before the hurricanes may continue to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards in any state.
Those who may have lost their cards can obtain a new one from the food stamp office in the area in which they now live. Louisiana residents who do not know their card number may call the Louisiana state office at 1-866-334-8304 or the JP Morgan toll-free number for Louisiana at 1-888-997-1117.
Stanciu says evacuees who were not eligible for food stamps before the hurricane may apply for food stamps benefits at any food stamp office in the area in which they now live. The "National Refugee Policy" will allow people who normally do not qualify to receive food stamps if they fled the storm-damaged areas of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
States without a current operational Disaster Food Stamp Program will take applications for food stamps until October 15, 2005. Applicants are eligible under this policy (Expanded Disaster Evacuee Policy) for three full months, plus the month of application.
Food stamps and EBT cards can be used to purchase hot foods from authorized retail stores in 25 parishes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. This rule is in effect until October 31, 2005. All authorized stores are urged to post a notice about this rule.
For more information about the food disaster assistance, visit the USDA Food Nutrition Service Web site at http://www.fns.usda.gov/disasters/disaster.htm or contact your local LSU AgCenter extension agent.
For information about food stamp certification status and lost EBT cards, use these numbers: Call 1-888-524-3578 to obtain information on the FSP certification status or for help in obtaining a replacement EBT card; call 1-866-334-8304, 1-888-997-1117 or 1-888-524-3578 to obtain a replacement EBT card.
For information on related hurricane recovery topics, click on the links at the LSU AgCenter home page, at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.