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DSNAP FAQs

 

 
General Information

dsnap_general

What is DSNAP?

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) provides eligible low- to moderate-income households who do not currently receive SNAP benefits with help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster.

I have specific questions regarding my DSNAP or SNAP case. Who can I contact?

If you have a question about your case, call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578.

What services are available for applicants who don’t speak English?

The LAHelpU Customer Service Center uses Language Line translation services and will assist all residents through the application process. For more information about how to apply, read “How do I apply for DSNAP due to Hurricane Laura?” above.

 
Eligibility

dsnap_eligibility

I lost power. Do I automatically get DSNAP benefits?

If you are a current SNAP recipient and lost food due to a power outage of 24+ straight hours, you may be eligible for Replacement SNAP benefits. For more information, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/SNAPLaura.

Do I have to live in one of the approved parishes to receive DSNAP benefits?

Yes. Only residents of parishes that were federally approved for Individual Assistance (IA) can apply for DSNAP benefits. For Hurricane Laura, those parishes approved for IA are: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Union, Vermilion, Vernon and Winn.

How is DSNAP eligibility calculated?

Eligibility for DSNAP benefits is determined by looking at the applicant’s take-home pay in the month following the disaster, adding all available cash resources (including checking and savings balances), and deducting the total dollar amount of money spent or expected to be spent on any disaster-related expense for the disaster benefit period (which, in the case of Hurricane Laura, is August 25 to September 23).

What are the income limits for DSNAP? I’m not eligible for SNAP. Will I qualify for DSNAP?

Households not normally eligible for SNAP may qualify for DSNAP as a result of their disaster-related expenses, such as loss of income, damage to property, and in some cases, loss of food due to power outages.

I receive SNAP. Am I eligible for DSNAP? Do I need to pre-register or apply?

SNAP recipients are not eligible for DSNAP and should not pre-register or apply. In the event of a disaster, if SNAP recipients are eligible for additional benefits, those benefits will be handled through a separate process. For information about SNAP benefits changes following Hurricane Laura, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/SNAPLaura.

Can I buy hot food with my DSNAP card

Yes. As a result of a federal waiver, through October 1, DSNAP recipients can use their benefits to buy prepared foods at any Louisiana retailer that accepts SNAP EBT cards. Restaurant purchases are prohibited. Read more here: http://dcfs.louisiana.gov/page/831.

 
Application

dsnap_application

How do I pre-register for DSNAP?

You can pre-register for DSNAP in the DCFS CAFÉ Self-Service Portal at www.dcfs.la.gov/cafe or by calling the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578.

While it is not required to pre-register before applying for DSNAP, it is strongly encouraged because it will make the application process quicker and easier for the applicant.

For step-by-step instructions on how to pre-register for DSNAP, including a video tutorial on how to create an account in the CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/page/dsnap-registration

For a list of the information you will need to pre-register for DSNAP, see “What information do I need to pre-register for DSNAP?” below.

I pre-registered for DSNAP before. Do I need to pre-register again?

If you have not pre-registered for DSNAP since March 2020, you will need to pre-register again. DCFS upgraded our CAFÉ customer portal, and all pre-registrations must be completed in the new portal. Pre-registering again will not only speed your application time, it will also give you an opportunity to make sure your information is up-to-date.

For step-by-step instructions on how to pre-register for DSNAP, including a video tutorial on how to create an account in our new CAFÉ Self-Service Portal, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/page/dsnap-registration

What information do I need to pre-register for DSNAP?

To pre-register for DSNAP, you will need to have ready the following information:

  • The name, date of birth and Social Security Number (if applicable) for each household member
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID number (if applicable) for the head of household
  • Residential address and mailing address (if different)
  • Income information for each household member
  • Resources information (e.g., cash, checking, savings) for each household member

I pre-registered for DSNAP. When will I find out if I’m approved?

Pre-registration for DSNAP is only the first step. You must also apply. For information on next steps, read “How do I apply for DSNAP due to Hurricane Laura?” below.

What information do I need to apply for DSNAP?

When calling to apply for DSNAP, please be prepared to provide the following during your application interview:

  • A driver’s license or state-issued ID to verify your identity and residency (NOTE:  Before calling to apply for DSNAP due to Hurricane Laura, please download the LA Wallet mobile app at LAWallet.com)
  • Verification of monthly income for each household member (e.g., check stubs)
  • Verification of household resources (e.g., checking or savings statements)
  • Amount of disaster-related expenses you incurred during the disaster period

If you did not pre-register before calling to apply, you also will need to be prepared to provide:

  • Name, date of birth, and Social Security Number (if applicable) for each household member, and driver’s license or state-issued ID number (if applicable) for the head of household; and
  • Residential address and mailing address (if mailing address is different).

When can I apply for DSNAP due to Hurricane Laura?

The application period for DSNAP due to Huricane Laura ended Wednesday, September 23rd.

Can I complete a DSNAP application for someone else? Or have someone complete one for me?

Applicants may name an Authorized Representative (AR) to apply for DSNAP benefits on their behalf. The head of household must authorize the person to serve as AR on their behalf, and the worker will need to speak to the head of household to confirm that they agree for the AR to speak on their behalf.

How will I know if I’m approved to receive DSNAP?

DSNAP applicants will be told on the phone immediately after completing their application whether they have been approved to receive DSNAP and, if so, the amount of benefits they will receive.

Applicants also will receive a letter by mail, confirming the eligibility decision made on their DSNAP application.

NOTE:  Pre-registering for DSNAP online is only the first step. You must also apply. You will not receive an eligibility decision if you have only pre-registered and not applied. For more information, see “How do I apply for DSNAP due to Hurricane Laura?” above.

My DSNAP application was denied. How can I request a fair hearing to review the outcome?

Clients have 90 days from the date of DCFS's decision on a DSNAP case to appeal the department's decision. The decision letter you receive from DCFS will include instructions for filing an appeal. You will need to complete and sign the section below "Fair Hearing Information" and return it to the address indicated in the letter.

 
Benefits

dsnap_benefits

How much can I receive in DSNAP benefits?

DSNAP benefits are calculated based on household size. For Hurricane Laura, benefit amounts are calculated as follows:

Household Size

DSNAP Allotment

1

$194

2

$355

3

$509

4

$646

5

$768

6

$921

7

$1,018

8

$1,164

Each additional household member

+$146

 

How long do I have to use my DSNAP benefits?

DSNAP benefits are issued for one month, but can be used for up to 365 days from the date of issuance.

 
EBT (Benefits) Cards

dsnap_ebtcards

I lost my DSNAP card. What do I do?

Call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 to report your card lost and request a new one.

How will I receive my Hurricane Laura DSNAP benefits?

DSNAP benefits will be loaded onto an EBT card and mailed or sent through FedEx to the applicant. Please note that your EBT card will be sent separately from your benefits approval letter.

DSNAP benefits cards cannot be sent by FedEx to a Post Office Box and will be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service instead if a P.O. Box is the only address provided.

If your card is sent via FedEx, you do NOT need to pick up your DSNAP card at your FedEx station. Your card will be delivered to the address you provided. Due to the heavy volume, it may be delayed. Also, FedEx does not need a signature when the card is delivered to the requested location.

If I have been displaced by Hurricane Laura and am currently in a shelter or hotel room, how can I get my DSNAP benefits card ?

Displaced residents who are staying in a state-provided hotel room or state-operated shelter can have their DSNAP benefits card sent to their hotel.

When you call to apply, please make sure to tell the caseworker that you are staying in a hotel or shelter, and provide your hotel name and room number or shelter location.

Can I pick up my Hurricane Laura DSNAP benefits card in person?

DSNAP benefits cards will be mailed or sent through FedEx to the applicant. (Please note that the card will be sent separately from the benefits approval letter.)

Applicants who do not have a mailing address can have their DSNAP card mailed to a DCFS office for pickup in-person. 

PLEASE NOTE, however, that choosing to pick up a card in person will NOT speed receipt of the card and will actually DELAY receiving the card by an additional day or two. Therefore, it is important to provide a valid mailing address for receiving your DSNAP card if at all possible.

For those recipients whose cards were sent by FedEx:  You do NOT need to pick up your DSNAP card at your FedEx station. Your card will be delivered to the address you provided. Due to the heavy volume, it may be delayed.

When should I expect my Hurricane Laura DSNAP card, and what do I do if it doesn't arrive?

If you listed a physical address for your DSNAP EBT card and requested expedited delivery, it will be delivered by Fed Ex, with an estimated 3-5 Business Days for delivery.  Due to the heavy volume, the card may be delayed. You do NOT need to pick up your DSNAP card at your FedEx station. Your card will be delivered to the address you provided. FedEx does not need a signature when the card is delivered to the requested location.

If you listed a P.O. Box for your DSNAP EBT card, it is being delivered by regular mail delivery, which can take up to 7-10 business days for delivery.

NOTE: The DSNAP EBT card will be sent separately from your benefits approval letter.

If you don't receive your card in your expected timeframe, please contact our LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 or LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov.

You can call LAHelpU from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., M-F, except on holidays. To speak with a customer service representative, select your language, then press these numbers: 3-3-3-1. Tip: Call volumes are lightest in the first and last hours of the day.

If you send an email, provide your name as it appears in our records, your contact information, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number. You should also include a brief description of your situation and reason for writing, as well as a descriptive subject line. Our staff will respond as quickly as possible, but they receive a great volume of requests. Please allow at least three or four business days for a response.

My Hurricane Laura DSNAP card was sent to me through FedEx and is at the FedEx station. Do I need to pick it up?

No, you do not need to pick up your DSNAP card at your FedEx station. It will be delivered to the address you provided.  Due to the heavy volume, however, the card may be delayed.

Note that FedEx does not require a signature when the card is delivered to the requested location.

My DSNAP card has a $0 balance when I call. What’s going on?

This could happen for a couple of reasons:

(1) You must activate the card after you receive it for the balance to become available to you. The automated system will not tell you the balance on your card until the card has been activated. For information on how to activate your card, read “How do I activate my EBT card for DSNAP?” below.

(2) If you have an EBT card for another program (such as P-EBT, or a card from an old or denied SNAP case), when you call the EBT Customer Service Center to activate your DSNAP EBT card, you must make sure you enter the 16-digit card number from the DSNAP card. If you enter only your personal information (SSN, DOB, ZIP), the system may pull up your P-EBT or old SNAP account instead of your DSNAP account. For more information on how to activate your card, read “How do I activate my EBT card for DSNAP?” below.

If neither of these reasons applies, please call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 to speak with someone about your case.

How do I activate my EBT card for DSNAP?

To activate your DSNAP EBT card, call the EBT customer service line at 1-888-997-1117, enter your 16-digit card number, and then listen for the option to select or reset your PIN. To set your PIN, you will need the last four digits of the Social Security number, date of birth and zip code for the mailing address of the Head of Household.

If the Head of Household did not provide a Social Security number during the DSNAP application process, the cardholder will need to call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center at 1-888-524-3578 to get the number needed to set the PIN and activate the DSNAP EBT card.

NOTE: If you have an EBT card for another program (such as P-EBT, or a card from an old or denied SNAP case), you must first enter the 16-digit card number from your DSNAP EBT card before setting your PIN. Otherwise, the system may pull up your P-EBT or old SNAP account instead of your DSNAP account.

PIN Options: Please note that PINs selected with any of the below patterns are not allowed: • Identical digits (1111, 2222, 3333, etc.) • Consecutive digits (1234, 2345, 3456, etc.) • Numbers that start with one or more zeroes (0657, 0051, 0001, etc.) • The last four digits of the cardholder’s Social Security number • The cardholder’s birthdate