BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has received federal approval to operate a Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) in three more parishes – Caddo, LaSalle, and St. Landry – and will add those parishes to the Phase 2 schedule, which begins Thursday.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) also approved DCFS’s request to extend Phase 1 for another week, until Sept. 23, allowing residents impacted by Hurricane Laura in the nine Phase 1 parishes additional time to apply for DSNAP benefits. Those nine parishes are Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Rapides, Vermilion and Vernon.
Wednesday is an open application day for Phase 1 parishes, meaning any resident of those nine parishes may apply, regardless of their last name’s first letter.
When Phase 2 begins Thursday, Phase 1 parishes will follow the same alphabet system as Phase 2 parishes. That schedule – and all parishes participating during Phase 2 – will be as follows:
Parishes Participating: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Union, Vermilion, Vernon and Winn.
Schedule for All Parishes Participating in Phase 2:
- Day 1 (Sept. 17) – Residents with last names beginning with A-C
- Day 2 (Sept. 18) – D-G
- Day 3 (Sept. 19) – H-L
- Day 4 (Sept. 20) – M-R
- Day 5 (Sept. 21) – S-Z
- Days 6 & 7 (Sept. 22-23) – Open for all (letters A-Z) in the participating parishes
On their scheduled day, residents will call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to apply. On A-Z days, the call center will extend its hours to 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Eligibility for DSNAP benefits is determined by looking at the applicant’s take-home pay in the month following the disaster, adding all available cash resources (including checking and savings balances), and deducting the total dollar amount of money spent or expected to be spent on any disaster-related expense for the disaster benefit period (which, in the case of Hurricane Laura, is August 25 to September 23).
Preparing to Apply: What Applicants Need to Know
1. Register Online First
Residents who have not yet pre-registered for DSNAP are strongly encouraged to do so before calling to apply. Registering in advance is not the same as applying – residents must still call to apply and be interviewed to determine eligibility. However, registering in advance will help speed the application process, reducing call wait times.
Step-by-step instructions for how to create an online account and register for DSNAP can be found at www.dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP.
2. Download LA Wallet
Residents are also encouraged to download the LA Wallet mobile app, which will help speed the identity and residency verification process during their phone interview. Information about the app, including download links, can be found at LAWallet.com.
3. Gather Needed Documents & Information
When residents call to apply, a worker will verify the applicant’s identity and residency, and obtain information about their income, resources and disaster-related expenses. A list of what information is needed can be found in the FAQs at www.dcfs.la.gov/page/dsnap-faqs.
For additional information on DSNAP related to Hurricane Laura, please see below or visit www.dcfs.la.gov/DSNAP-Laura.