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State Announces Chemung County Residents Now Eligible To Apply For Disaster Food Stamp Benefits

September 27, 2011 - The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced that Chemung County has been added to the list of counties where disaster food stamp benefits are being made available to households hard-hit by Tropical Storm Lee.

The Disaster Food Stamp Benefits Program is available to Chemung County residents as of yesterday, Monday, September 26. Counties will accept Disaster Food Stamp benefits application for at least seven days from their start date.

"We know that these recent storms have resulted in more New Yorkers struggling to feed their families," said OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin. "Disaster Food Stamp Benefits can offer some relief to those households, including families and individuals who normally would not seek help from Food Stamps. It is important that families act quickly to seek this help, as it is only available for a limited time."

Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that the Disaster Food Stamp Benefits Program was launched September 22, for residents in the following counties affected by Hurricane Irene: Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, and Westchester. Also, the Disaster Food Stamp Benefits Program was launched for residents in counties affected by Tropical Storm Lee beginning September 23, in Broome, Delaware, Schenectady and Tioga counties, and Monday, September 26, in Chenango and Otsego counties.

The federal government oversees the Food Stamp Program, which is operated in New York State by OTDA.

Disaster food stamp benefits can be made available when the number of people applying for food stamp benefits increases rapidly and significantly as a result of an emergency or disaster. Under the Disaster Food Stamp Benefits Program, standard eligibility criteria are relaxed so that those who may not normally qualify for food stamps can receive help to purchase food. Verification rules are also eased, reducing administrative burdens as both local agencies and applicants may not have access to records normally used for verification in the aftermath of a disaster.

To qualify for disaster food stamp benefits, applicants:

  • Must have lived in one of the designated counties at the time of the disaster. Applicants may be eligible if they are temporarily living outside of the disaster area but within the State at the time of the disaster.
  • Must have experienced at least one of the following:
    • Loss of food or food stamp benefits.
    • Damage to, or the destruction of, the household's home or self-employment business.
    • Disaster-related expenses not expected to be reimbursed during the month of September (e.g. home or business repairs, temporary shelter expenses, etc.).
    • Loss or inaccessibility of income including reduction or termination of income, or a delay in receipt of income for half a month.
    • Inaccessible liquid resources (e.g. banks are closed due to the disaster).

To find out where to apply for disaster food stamp benefits, call 1-800-342-3009, or contact your local department of social services.

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