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Food Stamps

Getting Emergency Snap Benefits


Emergency SNAP benefits are for SNAP applicants in a crisis that need food aid within 7 days. These benefits are usually issued for one month while claimants collect the verifications that the Department requires to endorse a full SNAP application. The other term used to define Emergency SNAP is “expedited” SNAP. These benefits are usually issued more quickly than normal and given within a week. These may not be confused as extra SNAP—rather these benefits are just another manner to obtain your first month’s SNAP assistance earlier.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service extends this program for households or individuals that have no other options available to them, to expedite the application procedure. Recipients of this service can receive their food stamps in a shorter period which is a bridge-type program only. It can vary from state to state, it can assist the family for a matter of days or up to one month, then the person or household will need to apply for the “regular” SNAP food stamp program.

Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) recently disseminated additional information on the food assistance extended to substitute the food lost during natural calamities.  The info includes on how those benefits may be acquired.

The beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could also be eligible for alternate benefits for food lost due to disasters like hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods or other issues of temporary displacement.


It is important to note that the emergency SNAP benefits are not given automatically. SNAP recipients must apply for them separately. This replacement assistance could not be taken as Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) benefits which are offered after approval from a State for individuals in the disaster-hit region where an uninsured property is damaged.

In the case of Hurricane Barry, for example, DCFS Secretary said that the hurricane did not cause projected damage and if affected residents report their loss to the Louisiana DCFS by Friday, July 26, they will be considered for the emergency assistance. Based on initial reports on the loss of Hurricane, it appeared that the state will not cover all the damage, according to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Residents are asked to first report any loss to the respective insurance company and local emergency management office for the exact extent of dent.

The state emergency response division said they are working to provide direly needed food support to most vulnerable especially those already on SNAP assistance. In the government’s effort to provide sufficient groceries to help others, the food banks have also become partners.


Expedited or Emergency SNAP assistance means those benefits that are disbursed in 5 days or less from the date you apply. There is no particular eligibility requirements for the emergency SNAP benefits, existing SNAP recipients and who lost food purchased with SNAP due to a power outage or other household misfortune can apply for alternate benefits.



Additionally, those falling in the following categories are also eligible for the Emergency SNAP assistance:

  • Whose monthly income including cash and bank accounts are less than their monthly rent or mortgage and utility costs;
  • whose monthly income is less than $150 with cash and bank accounts are not more than $100, or
  • At least one person in a particular family is a migrant farmworker with cash and bank accounts are not more than $100.

All people are expected to have valid identification documents. For those in dire need of food assistance, and who cannot wait for the caseworker could be given out of turn appointment with the assessment officer for the next day.

For food wastage due to power failures, the power must have been out for a minimum of 24 hours. DCFS works in collaboration with the Public Service Commission to find reports of specific power outages in different localities.

How to Apply

To receive emergency SNAP benefits, applicants are advised to go to a local DTA office. They will be required to fill out the food stamps application and meet with a caseworker.


If you are getting emergency SNAP benefits, DTA must give you SNAP benefits no later than seven days after they receive your application. Emergency SNAP benefits are given for one month only. After that, you must fill out a full application for a regular SNAP.

Applicants can use the DHS Office Locator to find their DHS Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) where you may apply.

Best, Fastest Option is to report the food loss to DCFS by submitting a completed and signed SNAP 38 Form through one of the following ways:

  • Email; or
  • Mail it to nearest DPC; or
  • If one cannot email or mail the form, can bring it to your nearest DCFS Economic Stability office.

Under the federal regulations, DCFS cannot process an Emergency SNAP request until before it receives signed SNAP 38 Form. The sooner it receives the form, the sooner the request is assessed and evaluated and benefits are distributed. SNAP 38 Forms are available online and at DCFS Economic Stability (ES) offices. If a SNAP aspirant cannot download the form or get to an ES office, he/she can call the local DCFS office and request that a form be mailed to them.

Form and procedure

  1. Emergency SNAP-eligible applicants receive a confirmation letter authenticating the amount they are eligible for. The letter explains the details of the required verifications to decide to continue giving SNAP benefits.
  2. Similar to standard SNAP benefits, emergency SNAP benefits are also issued on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)card. Applicants must use a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to use these emergency benefits.

Those who are not approved for these emergency SNAP benefits might still be eligible for monthly SNAP benefits. Those unapproved applicants who have questions regarding reasons for the rejection of their applications for emergency SNAP benefits, or who disagree with the decision, can contact the Department of Transitional Assistance for the review.

For individuals and families with an income low enough to get emergency SNAP, they should apply for SNAP and show their ID. Those without identification, local DTA will crosscheck their identity through their Social Security Number in addition to calling their accountancies. People applying for the emergency SNAP are required to provide DTA with other relevant documents later (if they don’t have them readily available at the time of applying) for continuously receiving the assistance.



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