The Disaster SNAP/Food Stamp Program provides replacement benefits for regular food stamp recipients who lose food in a disaster and extends benefits to many households which would not ordinarily be eligible but suddenly need food assistance. The benefits are delivered via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which can expedite and mainstream the relief process for victims.
1. Develop a constructive relationship with your state and local food stamp offices before a disaster strikes.
2. Ask your state about its disaster plans, or bring up disaster readiness at regular meetings or working group sessions.
3. Encourage your state to apply to USDA as quickly as possible for the DFSP when a disaster occurs, and monitor its progress during the application process.
4. Encourage your state to ask for automatic replacement of benefits for existing recipients, broad eligibility criteria for new recipients, and food loss as a sufficient criterion for assistance.
5. Enlist the help of the local food bank community and a broad range of other non-profit organizations to promote the DFSP.
6. Press local elected officials, the media, and FEMA to mention the DFSP specifically, not just assistance in general.
7. Use all of your normal outreach channels and methods to inform people about the DFSP, and think of new channels and methods as the disaster situation requires.
8. Advocate for clients who fall through the cracks of the disaster relief efforts.
9. Work with your state to develop a plan to help DFSP recipients who might be eligible for the regular Food Stamp Program to apply for benefits.
10. When the disaster effort is over, recognize your state for what it did well and make constructive suggestions for future disaster relief efforts.