Low-income Connecticut residents not currently receiving food assistance benefits and who incurred disaster-related expenses from Tropical Storm Irene -- including loss of income, temporary shelter costs and property repairs -- have until Tuesday, Sept. 27, to apply for special assistance under the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP, said Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby in a press release.
Applications are being taken at all 12 Department of Social Services field offices throughout Connecticut from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Applicants should bring proof of identity, residency, income, assets and storm-related expenses for Saturday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Sept. 25.
An applicant pre-screening tool is available on the DSS website.
Qualified expenses are losses not covered by insurance, disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency or other reimbursement.
People still in line at that time will be issued rain check vouchers to return for application processing.
Middlebury residents are served by the Waterbury Sub-Office, 249 Thomaston Ave., Waterbury. The telephone number is 203-597-4000.
Woodbury is served by the Torrington Sub-Office, 62 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 1, Torrington. The telephone number is 860-496-6900.
One may also call 211, the 24/7 statewide information service operated by the United Way of Connecticut.
Disaster SNAP Background and Eligibility Information
Bremby stressed that D-SNAP applications are available only to Connecticut residents not currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for food stamps and who have sustained losses from Tropical Storm Irene.
Applicants must identify non-reimbursable disaster-related losses incurred during a 30-day period from Saturday, Aug. 27 to Sunday, Sept. 25, the press release stated.
Households already enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, while not eligible to apply for D-SNAP benefits, are automatically receiving additional food benefits in their electronic benefit accounts for September, as long as they were in the program during August when Tropical Storm Irene hit, and were not receiving the maximum regular benefit allowed for their income and family size, according to the press release.
Qualified out-of-pocket expenses due to the storm may include:
- Loss of income, including self-employment income, dependent care, medical or funeral costs
- Moving or storage costs
- Temporary shelter costs
- Costs to protect, repair or replace property or household items, including self-employment property
Applicants must also meet financial criteria to qualify for D-SNAP. Take-home income and liquid assets for the period from Aug. 27 to Sept. 25 cannot exceed:
- $2,186 for a single person
- $2,847 for a household of two
- $3,272 for a household of three
- $3,859 for a household of four
- $4,254 for a household of five
- $4,753 for a household of six
- $5,116 for a household of seven
- $5,479 for a household of eight
This means that income, including take-home pay, child support, alimony, public assistance, Social Security, pension, etc., and available liquid assets -- cash on hand, savings and checking accounts, etc. -- during Aug. 27 to Sept 25, combined, cannot exceed the above amounts to qualify for D-SNAP.
Benefits are issued through ATM-style debit cards for purchasing federally-approved food items at supermarkets and groceries.
"We urge the public to continue to be as patient as possible as our hard-working staff do their best to process a huge number of applications for this federal disaster assistance program," Bremby said. "Everyone who meets the application deadline of tomorrow will be included in the process, even if we can’t get to their application by the end of the day. For those applicants, rain checks will be provided for returning on another day for priority service."
With a five-day application period opening Wednesday, Sept. 21, DSS offices have seen increasing numbers of residents applying for food benefits, according to the press release.
Hundreds of people were lined up early the morning of Monday, Sept. 26, at eight DSS offices, including Waterbury.
During the first three days of applications, DSS processed a total of 3,701 applications for D-SNAP assistance, with the numbers rising from 451 on Wednesday to 1,301 on Thursday to 1,949 on Friday, the press release stated.
The agency dispatched staff reinforcements to field offices, including hearing officers, trainers, investigators and other specialists, to help handle applications.
Besides DSS staff, Bremby cited the efforts of community partners like End Hunger Connecticut!, the Connecticut Association for Human Services and the Hartford-based Hispanic Health Council.
The D-SNAP authorization for Connecticut was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service under federal Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and the federal Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.