USDA Announces Approval of D-SNAP, Other Flexibilities for Tennessee Tornado Disaster Areas

Washington, DC, March 13, 2020 – Low-income Tennesseans recovering from recent tornadoes could be eligible for assistance from the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), announced today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps said that households who may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may qualify for D-SNAP – if they meet the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.

“USDA is committed to helping Tennesseans get back on their feet,” said Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “The D-SNAP program USDA is announcing today is an important step in that direction, as folks work through the aftermath of the powerful tornadoes that swept the area.”

To receive assistance through D-SNAP, a household must either live or work in an identified disaster area, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain eligibility criteria. Approved households will receive one month of benefits, equal to the maximum amount for a SNAP household of their size, to meet their temporary food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. Tennessee 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, Lipps 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.

Although current SNAP households in the identified areas are not eligible for D-SNAP, they may request supplemental SNAP benefits to raise their allotment to the maximum amount for their household size for one month if they don’t already receive that amount.

Additionally, USDA has approved other flexibilities to help Tennesseans in the affected areas cope with the aftermath of the tornadoes, including:

  • A waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through April 3, 2020, and
  • A waiver of the 10-day reporting timeframe for impacted residents currently participating in SNAP to request replacement benefits, extending the deadline to March 24, 2020.

Individuals seeking more information about this and other available aid should dial 2-1-1 (for callers in Tennessee) or 1-866-311-4287. For more information about Tennessee SNAP, visit https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap.html.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’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.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

03/13/2020