TRENTON – People receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will soon receive 25 percent of their October monthly allotment to allow them to replace some of the food they may have lost due to storm-related power outages.
For a limited time, SNAP members will also be able to use their benefits to purchase hot and cold prepared meals from participating stores, an exception to the normal SNAP rules.
The replacement SNAP and prepared food benefits are administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) through New Jersey’s Department of Human Services’ Division of Family Development and the state’s county welfare agencies.
“Hurricane Sandy caused unprecedented destruction and devastation throughout New Jersey,” said DHS Commissioner Jennifer Velez. “Many families still have no power making it nearly impossible for them to store perishable items or cook food.”
The replacement SNAP benefit is for current recipients, only. SNAP recipients in 16 counties that experienced a loss of power for at least 50 percent of their population will receive the replacement automatically within the next few weeks on their EBT cards. They do not need to call or visit their County Welfare Agency.
Those counties are: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.
Individuals and families on SNAP from the counties of Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem also are eligible for the replacement benefit, but must go to their county welfare office to apply. They are not eligible for the hot food benefit.
“These are families already at great risk for hunger,” said Velez. “The replacement and prepared food benefit will enable SNAP recipients in counties hardest hit by the hurricane to restock their refrigerator if they have power, or purchase ready-to-eat meals.”
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