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Replacement food benefits available to Kentuckians impacted by tornado

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 1:18 PM CST
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KENTUCKY (WFIE) - Kentuckians receiving federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits who lost food due to the storms or related power outages when the Dec. 10-11 storms and tornadoes devastated Western Kentucky can request benefit replacement and use benefits to purchase hot food.

Officials say there are two booths set up, one at Dawson Springs High School and the other at Pennyrile State Park for people to apply.

“If you lost your card and need a replacement card. If you don’t have benefits and you need to apply because you lost your job. If you need to replace the benefits, replace the food you lost in the tornado. You can apply for that,” says family support specialist Stefanie Graham.

The booths will only be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Current SNAP beneficiaries can call the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) at 855-306-8959 or visit their county’s DCBS office to request replacements. The benefits are available through a waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Replacements can be requested until Jan. 8, 2022.

Another waiver, approved Dec. 23, provides automatic replacements of December benefits to some residents of Warren County, Hickman County, Mayfield, Dawson Springs, Auburn and Pembroke. This replacement applies to households who received their December benefits prior to the storms. SNAP households not covered by this automatic replacement will need to call DCBS to request a replacement.

A third waiver allows the purchase of hot food from authorized SNAP retailers with their benefits. Kentuckians residing in the following counties may make hot food purchases through Jan. 17, 2022: Adair, Allen, Barren, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Casey, Christian, Crittenden, Daviess, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Larue, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McClean, McCracken, Metcalfe, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Simpson, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Warren and Webster. USDA emphasized the importance of the waiver, noting that many Kentucky residents evacuated to shelters, cannot store food, and lack access to cooking facilities as a result.

The Governor urged those affected by the storms to visit governor.ky.gov/tornado resources to learn more about the food benefits and other resources for storm survivors.

Under normal circumstances, hot foods cannot be bought using SNAP benefits. SNAP authorized retailers have been notified of the approval. Retailers in the state may need as much as 24 to 36 hours to make changes that will allow the sale of hot foods, and where practical, customers may remain on the premises to consume those foods.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is ready to consider additional waivers that may be needed to help program participants who have lost food due to the disaster and to simplify the application process for affected households, upon request from DCBS.

Kentuckians who believe they may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits should call the DCBS call center at 1-855-306-8959 or visit kynect.ky.gov to apply. Applications may also be made at local DCBS offices.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in disaster designated counties can apply for other types of assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY (1-800-462-7585, for deaf or hard-of-hearing). The toll-free numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

For more information about applying for benefits or finding community resources, please visit kynect.

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