South Florida

Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria can now apply for food stamps

Miami Herald File

Those who were displaced by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico can now apply for food stamps in Florida, officials announced.

Individuals receiving benefits under Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP), along with anyone who was displaced by the storm, can apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in Florida, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Benefits would be active for at least two months. The policy will facilitate access to food for households in immediate need, since NAP benefits cannot be used outside Puerto Rico.

The USDA is asking that SNAP agencies expedite procedures in serious cases, enabling households to receive an eligibility decision within 7 days rather than the the usual 30 days, if they have very little income or resources.

If approved for SNAP in Florida, NAP benefits in Puerto Rico would have to be terminated as soon as systems on the island are restored.

NAP participants will be asked to sign an affidavit stating that they understand that no member of the household may receive benefits from both NAP and SNAP simultaneously, and must agree to close their NAP case as soon as possible.

HOW TO APPLY

Visit the Florida Department of Children and Families’ website and fill out an online application.

Visit the USDA’s Food Assistance for Disaster Relief page for additional resources.

Monique O. Madan: 305-376-2108, @MoniqueOMadan

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