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State Agency Responsibilities Relating to the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

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Policy Memos
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PDF Icon Policy Memo (245.32 KB)
DATE: Nov. 7, 2018
SUBJECT: State Agency Responsibilities Relating to the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)
TO: All Regional Directors
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is issuing this memorandum in response to questions about state agency responsibilities relating to D-SNAP. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act provides the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to operate a D-SNAP when affected areas have received a Presidential major disaster declaration and when commercial channels of food distribution are available. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 provides the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to establish temporary emergency standards of eligibility for households who are survivors of a disaster that disrupts commercial channels of food distribution after those channels have been restored.

In July 2014, FNS issued Disaster SNAP Guidance: Policy Guidance, Lessons Learned, and Toolkits to Operate a Successful D-SNAP (D-SNAP Guidance). As stated in the D-SNAP Guidance, the primary responsibility for providing emergency food assistance rests with the state agency. State agencies must design their own D-SNAP plans and update them annually. After a disaster, if an affected area in the state has received a Presidential disaster declaration for individual assistance, the state must evaluate the need for a D-SNAP or another feeding program and, if desired, submit to FNS a detailed request to operate a D-SNAP. Once FNS has approved a D-SNAP, the state agency is responsible for effectively implementing the program, ensuring program integrity, complying with applicable federal law, and submitting daily reports. After program operations close, the state must perform post-disaster reviews and report findings to FNS.

FNS supports states' efforts to provide D-SNAP benefits by providing policy guidance, training, and technical assistance to state agencies as they plan, implement, and assess their D-SNAP activities. FNS provides approval for state D-SNAP plans and state applications to operate the D-SNAP and uses the information provided in post-disaster reviews and assessments to improve D-SNAP policy, training, and technical assistance.

The D-SNAP Guidance includes detailed discussion of D-SNAP policy. As a reminder of major D-SNAP-related state agency responsibilities, enclosed with this memo is a chart that provides an overview of the D-SNAP Guidance.

Please distribute this guidance to your state agencies and advise them to contact their respective FNS regional offices with any questions and for technical assistance. 

Lizbeth Silbermann
Program Development Division


Page updated: April 05, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.