Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
Emergency Food Stamp Assistance Information - DHS
DES MOINES, IowaThe Iowa Department of Human Services will expand the emergency food assistance program to 36 counties on Monday. Service is already being offered in a few counties, and federal officials will likely authorize added counties within days.
Iowans who have suffered storm related expensessuch as job disruptions, uninsured losses, cleanup, or replacement of ruined foodmay be eligible for disaster food stamps even if they do not qualify for the regular food stamp program. In Iowa, the food stamp program is called food assistance.
The maximum one time benefit for a family of four is $540.
The average benefit in the first three counties that have offered this benefit is about $370 per household for new applicants, and about $200 in additional benefits for people already receiving food assistance.
Eligibility is based on household size, income, available cash assets, and the amount of damage caused by tornadoes or flooding this spring.
"For people trying to recover from a disaster, this benefit is definitely worth having. The application process is simple. If you qualify, the benefits are almost immediate," said DHS Director Kevin Concannon.
Federal officials have cleared the way for the DHS to offer emergency food benefits in Adams, Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Crawford, Delaware, Des Moines, Fayette, Floyd, Fremont, Hardin, Harrison, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Mills, Monona, Muscatine, Page, Polk, Story, Tama, Union, Warren, and Winneshiek counties.
DHS staff will be offering the benefits at county DHS offices no later than Monday, and at most disaster recovery centers operated by the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Residents of these counties who have moved away to be with relatives during the flood recovery may apply at a DHS county office in any part of the state.
DHS offices are located in every county. For contact information, check http://www.dhs.state.ia.us/Consumers/Find_Help/MapLocations.html
DHS employees are also being deployed to most FEMA emergency county offices, which are open for extended hours and on weekends. For an updated list of local FEMA offices, see http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=43917
As is the case for all food stamps, benefits come in the form of a debit-like swipe card. The proper amount of benefit is loaded on to the card during the application process.
For more information, contact the DHS at 877-937-3663.
Emergency food benefits are available only in counties declared to be a presidential disaster for individual assistance and also approved for benefits by the Food and Nutrition Service, which is a division of the USDA.