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USDA Announces Approval of D-SNAP for California Disaster Areas

Press Release
Release No.
FNS 0008.21
Contact: FNS Press Team

WASHINGTON, October 12, 2021 – Low-income California residents in six counties (Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Tehama and Trinity) recovering from the wildfires that began on July 20 could be eligible for a helping hand from the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), announced today by the U.S Department of Agriculture.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that households that may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may qualify for D-SNAP – if they meet certain criteria, including the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.

“USDA stands with our neighbors in California to provide vital food assistance as they struggle through the aftermath of the wildfires that began on August 24, because we recognize that the crisis doesn’t end when the smoke clears” said Secretary Vilsack.

To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must have either lived or worked in an identified disaster area during the time of the disaster, been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Eligible households will receive one month of benefits – equal to the maximum amount for a SNAP household of their size – that they can use to purchase groceries at SNAP-authorized stores or from select retailers online to meet their temporary food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. California will share information about D-SNAP application dates and locations through local media.

The timing of D-SNAP varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster, Vilsack said, but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP, a state must ensure that the proper public information, staffing, and resources are in place.

The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in a battery of USDA actions taken to help California residents cope with the wildfires that began on July 20, 2021 and its aftermath, such as:

  • Approving a waiver to allow SNAP participants in nine counties (Butte, Glenn, Humboldt, Mendocino, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity) to buy hot foods and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through Oct. 28, 2021.
  • Approving a timely reporting waiver for affected households in Shasta County through Oct. 22, 2021, allowing affected residents more time to notify the state of food lost as a result of the Fawn Fire that began on Sept. 22, 2021.

For more information about this and other available aid, callers from California can dial 2-1-1. For more information about California SNAP and D-SNAP, visit

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more, visit


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Page updated: February 15, 2022