Virtual Application Period Will Run in Two Phases Beginning April 5, Will Follow Alphabet Schedule
BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has received federal approval to begin virtual Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) operations in 23 parishes severely affected by the winter storms on Feb. 15-18, 2021. The application process will run in two phases between Monday, April 5, and Saturday, April 17, 2021, and will follow an alphabet schedule according to applicants’ last names.
DSNAP provides food assistance to eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster. The state must request that the federal government initiate DSNAP but can only do so after the president activates the Stafford Act and approves the parish for Individual Assistance (IA). Each IA-approved parish must also request DSNAP before the benefits can be provided to eligible residents of that parish.
The 23 parishes that requested and were approved for federal Individual Assistance and DSNAP due to extensive power outages, water outages and other damage from the February ice storms are: Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.
Residents who received SNAP benefits in February 2021 are not eligible for DSNAP and should not apply. Residents who began to receive SNAP benefits after February 2021 may be eligible.
What Applicants Need to Know
Due to ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, DSNAP applications will be handled by phone and benefits cards will be mailed to approved applicants.
Residents in the approved parishes will be assigned a day, based on the first letter of their last name, to call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP. On their designated day, residents will call 1-888-524-3578 (select language, then press 3-3-1), between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. See Application Schedule below for assigned dates.
Translation services are available for individuals whose primary language is not English.
Residents are encouraged, but not required, to take the following steps before calling to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP:
Pre-register online first. Step-by-step instructions for this can be found at dcfs.la.gov/page/dsnap-registration.
Download the LA Wallet mobile app for identity and residency verification.
Residents who pre-registered or applied for DSNAP since March 2020 do not need to pre-register again.
When residents call to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP, a worker will verify the applicant’s identity and residency, and obtain information about their income, resources and disaster-related expenses. Most applicants will be told on the phone immediately after completing their application and interview whether they have been approved to receive DSNAP and, if so, the amount of benefits they will receive. Applicants will also receive a letter by mail, confirming the eligibility decision made on their application.
Applicants may name an Authorized Representative (AR) to apply for DSNAP benefits on their behalf. The head of household must authorize the person to serve as AR on their behalf, and the worker will need to speak to the head of household to confirm that they agree for the AR to speak on their behalf.
Elderly and disabled applicants who cannot complete the phone application process can apply at their local DCFS office.
Residents should call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP on their designated day (according to the first letter of their last name) or on the A-Z days, which are open to all residents in the approved parishes for each phase.
Parishes: Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, Franklin, Grant and Ouachita
Monday, April 5 – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Tuesday, April 6 – G-M
Wednesday, April 7 – N-S
Thursday, April 8 – T-Z
Friday, April 9 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 1 parishes)
Saturday, April 10 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 1 parishes)
Parishes: Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll and Winn
Monday, April 12 – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Tuesday, April 13 – G-M
Wednesday, April 14 – N-S
Thursday, April 15 – T-Z
Friday, April 16 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 2 parishes)
Saturday, April 17 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 2 parishes)