The federal Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), which administers states’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP) formerly known as Food Stamps, has extended Hawaii’s reimbursement deadline for food spoiled during Tropical Storm Iselle.
Hawaii SNAP administrators requested the extension through Aug. 30 to provide thousands of Hawaii Island and Maui County households additional time to apply for assistance. Due to storm damage and debris, many individuals and families were unable to leave their homes by the original deadline.
Reimbursement is limited to the actual dollar value of food destroyed and cannot exceed the household’s current monthly allotment. To qualify, the individual or household must have been receiving SNAP benefits when the disaster occurred, and report the food spoilage to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) office on their island by Aug. 30.
The individual or household applying for reimbursement must provide the DHS BESSD a signed statement that includes the following information:
- Name of the storm and dates of impact;
- General list of food items lost due to storm related power outage;
- Length of time household power was out;
- Statement that the household is aware of the penalties for the intentional misrepresentation of the facts; and
- Statement that the household is aware that SNAP replacement allotment will not be issued if the required statement is not signed and returned by the specified deadline.
Natural disasters affect everyone in striking range. However, elderly and/or disabled individuals, families with infants and minor children, and families with limited income are disproportionately affected because they are lack the necessary resources to replenish food supplies or other basic necessities. It is these populations that make up the estimated 98,000 Hawaii households that currently receive SNAP benefits.
To reach the BESSD offices in Maui County call on Maui 808-984-3300; on Molokai 808-553-1751; and on Lanai 808-565-7102. To reach the Hilo BESSD Office call 808-981-7288.