In an effort to help ease the burden of purchasing food for low-income families affected by Hurricane Irma, the Division of Family and Children Services has released September’s allotment of food stamp benefits to all Georgia residents.
Georgia recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (traditionally known as food stamps) can now access their September benefits via their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards and do not have to wait until their regularly-scheduled issuance date later this month.
Georgia DFCS worked over the weekend with its EBT vendor, Conduent, and with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to issue the remaining September benefits early for all SNAP recipients, particularly for those who live in counties covered by Governor Nathan Deal’s State of Emergency declaration.
The move allows families to stock up on food or quickly replace food lost in the storm.
“We share the concern of Georgia families who are bracing for this historic storm,” said DFCS Director Bobby Cagle. “We worked with our vendors and our federal partners to be sure that, in addition to taking measures to keep their families’ safe, Georgians don’t also have to worry where their next meal will come from.”
The early release also eases the burden on power companies, who must verify recipients’ power outages for them to replace food that may have perished in an outage lasting four hours or more.
“We recognize the important task our neighbors at the Southern Company and Georgia’s Electric Membership Corporations have ahead as they prepare for the potential of widespread power outages in the wake of Hurricane Irma,” Cagle said. “They must be able to focus 100 percent of their efforts on storm recovery.”
Approximately 1.6 million Georgians rely on SNAP assistance to feed their families. SNAP benefits are generally released over a 19-day cycle between the fifth day and 23rd day of each month.
The regular issuance cycle will resume in October.
Georgians who have trouble using their EBT card should call 1-888-421-3281.
DFCS will post ongoing updates, including information on storm-related office closures, at www.dfcs.ga.gov.