Thousands of Hawaii households remain without electricity in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle this past weekend. Most people affected by power outages reside on the east side of Hawaii Island. Others are scattered across Oahu and Maui County.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) reminds beneficiaries of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly known as Food Stamps) that beneficiary households may request reimbursement for the actual dollar value of food destroyed by storm related power outages. The reimbursement cannot exceed the household’s current monthly allotment (HAR 17-681-31).
To qualify for reimbursement, the affected household must have been participating in the SNAP when the disaster occurred, and report the loss to the DHS Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division (BESSD) within 10 business days of the severe weather event. The deadline to submit reimbursement requests for food spoiled during Tropical Storm Iselle is Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014.
To be considered for the reimbursement, the affected SNAP household must provide the DHS BESSD a signed statement that includes the following information:
1) Name of the storm and dates of impact;
2) General list of food items lost due to storm related power outage;
3) Length of time household power was out of service;
4) Statement that the household is aware of the penalties for the intentional misrepresentation of the facts; and
5) Statement that the household is aware that SNAP replacement allotment will not be issued if the required statement is not signed and returned within 10 days.
BEFORE MAILING OR DROPPING OFF the reimbursement request, SNAP beneficiaries should contact the BESSD Processing Center that maintains their case file for additional instructions. Individuals who don’t know which Processing Center maintains their file may call (808) 586-5720 to inquire.
An estimated 98,000 households currently receive SNAP benefits statewide. There are approximately 25,000 SNAP households on Hawaii Island; 5,000 on Kauai; and 12,000 in Maui County. To learn more about the Hawaii SNAP, visit the DHS website www.humanservices.hawaii.gov/bessd/snap.