Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Federal food assistance programs during the disaster

The Food Research and Action Center, a leading anti-hunger advocacy group at the federal level, has this report on USDA policies for the major food assistance programs.
USDA has responded quickly to the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina by issuing a comprehensive set of guidance and waivers designed to allow maximum use of the Child Nutrition Programs (school lunch, child and adult care food, and summer food to feed children in schools, shelters, child care centers, family child care homes, summer and afterschool programs.

USDA has eased program requirements that simply can not be met in the face of this disaster, including meal components, record keeping, and enrollment requirements (e.g., identification and income documentation). USDA’s WIC guidance is designed to help State WIC agencies restore or preserve the continued delivery of WIC benefits and to reach potentially newly eligible individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina.

USDA has issued policy guidance on Hurricane Katrina evacuees’ eligibility for food stamps, including how receiving states can process benefits for those who have relocated to their states. The policy defines refugees from areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina and distinguishes among procedures: for clients in states authorized to operate a disaster food stamp program; for those clients in states not authorized to operate a disaster program; and for clients currently certified. See USDA Food Stamp Program memorandum.

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