The federal government has not authorized any emergency or disaster SNAP benefits at this time, DCFS officials say.
However, they are encouraging anyone who doesn't get benefits now to apply - because with changes in working hours and closures, you may be eligible now.
Also, due to community spread of the novel coronavirus in New Orleans, and in response to the need for social distancing across the state, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is instituting 100% remote work in its Orleans Region offices, and transitioning to reduced workforce on-site in other offices statewide, starting today.
People can still connect with DCFS in several ways.
To report child abuse, call Louisiana's child abuse hotline at 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437), or for mandatory reporters, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/mandatedreporters [dcfs.louisiana.gov].
To access SNAP, FITAP, KCSP or Child Support, apply only via the CAFÉ Self-Service Portal (www.dcfs.la.gov/cafe [dcfs.louisiana.gov]) or get information about the services online at www.dcfs.la.gov/page/family-support [dcfs.louisiana.gov] or by calling the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578).
Those specifically looking for a SNAP application can text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898211, email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov [dcfs.louisiana.gov] or call 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578).
“We will be working every way we can, including remotely whenever possible, and will continue to serve the children and families of this state throughout this event,” DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters said.
At this time, the federal government has not authorized emergency/disaster SNAP benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. However, anyone who is not already a SNAP recipient and has a food need is encouraged to apply for regular SNAP benefits.
For information about SNAP or an application, Louisiana residents can text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898211, email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov [dcfs.louisiana.gov] or call 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578).
“We believe more people may be eligible for SNAP benefits due to many being off work during this time, and we want to make sure they know what food assistance is available and how they can apply,” Walters said. “The good news is that services for most of our clients can be handled online, making it unnecessary to go to an office in most cases, including applying for benefits. The application process can be done without coming into an office, either by applying online or by mailing or faxing a paper application.”
For more information, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP [dcfs.louisiana.gov]. DCFS will continue to provide updates through its website, Facebook page and news releases, as appropriate.
Customer Service Center hours for the LAHelpU call line are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.