by Mike Cerone, Senior VP and Managing Director, State Government Solutions, Xerox
Recovery from the recent flood disaster in Louisiana is underway, but the impact has been devastating. 25,000 citizens in shelters. 60,000 homes destroyed. As a result, more than 200,000 people have applied for federal assistance, and they need help.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is working hard to ensure these individuals and families get what they need, with our support. Since 2010, Xerox has helped Louisiana DCFS deliver Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) services to hundreds of thousands of Louisianans. It was clear even before the waters receded that we would have a role to play.
In times of great need like this one, Louisiana DCFS activates a program called the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP). This program provides food assistance to eligible households who don’t receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages after a disaster.
Our responsibilities include:
- Producing Disaster Cards for DCFS to hand out to eligible DSNAP applicants.Applications are received and cards are being handed out in 18 Parishes over the next three weeks. Each Parish will serve applicants on a staggered alphabetical schedule. To minimize wait times, applicants may pre-register for benefits before going to a DSNAP location. Applicants who are unable to visit a site on their designated day can go on the final day. As with all programs, DCFS works to ensure this program and others are available for eligible applicants.
- Providing call center/help desk support to clients and retailers with waivers, a special exception process. A waiver is required to allow SNAP recipients to purchase hot foods and hot food products with SNAP benefits in certain locations. This exception is necessary to avoid undue hardship for Louisiana citizens — many affected households are residing in shelters or temporary housing and are unable to store food or access cooking facilities.
The road to recovery will be long, but putting the right procedures in place to accommodate the changed landscape will provide much-needed relief to families displaced by the flooding.
If you live or work in the affected area, click here for more information on applying for DSNAP benefits, and click here if you’re a Xerox customer experiencing a disruption in service.