Many Louisiana households who received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in March will see an extra boost on their SNAP cards on Tuesday.
This boost comes after a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorizing supplemental SNAP benefits to bring each household to its maximum allotment by size, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As dictated by federal law, households already receiving the maximum SNAP allotment for their household size will not receive supplemental benefits, according to DCFS.
The supplemental benefits, authorized under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, will be automatically loaded onto SNAP recipients’ EBT cards, delivering an estimated $43 million extra per month in federal food assistance to about 265,000 Louisiana households (63% of all SNAP households in the state).
Louisiana residents who recently applied for SNAP, but have not yet been certified eligible or received March benefits, will receive their March benefits and supplements in April after being certified eligible.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will issue supplemental benefits for April as well.
Current recipients will receive their regular benefit allotment on their regular issuance date (April 1st – 14th), followed by their supplement on April 17th. New applicants will receive their April benefits and supplements on a rolling basis after being certified as eligible.
No SNAP benefits have been granted for anyone who does not currently receive benefits. DCFS says that while there are no disaster benefits issued, they are encouraging anyone who doesn't get benefits now to apply.
The maximum monthly SNAP allotments per household size are as follows:
|Household Size||Maximum Monthly Allotment|
|Each additional member||$146|
Calls to the DCFS Customer Service Center have been very high during this time, so the best way for recipients to get an update on their specific case would be through the online CAFÉ customer portal at www.dcfs.la.gov/cafe.
Work Requirements Suspended, Deadlines Extended
Also in response to the pandemic, the federal rule that limited Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) to only three months of benefits unless they met federal work requirements has been temporarily suspended. The rule would have gone into effect for 50 non-waived parishes in Louisiana on April 1, following the expiration of a previously obtained statewide waiver.
Mandatory work participation through the LaJET program in Orleans, Caddo, Ouachita and Rapides parishes has also been suspended.
SNAP recertifications with April deadlines also have been extended. Clients who previously received notices requiring them to reapply for benefits by April 15 will receive a new notice in the coming months with an updated deadline. There is no need to call or reapply until then.
DCFS continues to work with its federal, state and local partners in preparing to implement other provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Should additional changes be approved, the department will announce them as appropriate.
For more information about SNAP, including step-by-step instructions for how to apply for benefits, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP or text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898-211.