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DCFS denied benefits to 4,900 applicants, which amounted to 8.6 percent of the total of the applicants at the 25 sites in these parishes.
"Thousands of Louisiana families suffered unimaginable losses, and we know any help is appreciated by these families," said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. "Unfortunately, our staff also had to deny aid to thousands of applicants who were ineligible, some of whom knew they had not been impacted by the disaster when they applied."
Walters reminded residents about the penalties of DSNAP benefit fraud ahead of the opening of sites beginning tomorrow in seven additional parishes: Allen, Ascension, Calcasieu, Jackson, Rapides, Red River and Sabine.
"DSNAP is a federal program that allows us to get food quickly to eligible disaster victims who don't already receive regular SNAP benefits. In Louisiana, there are many residents who could fall into this category. We are doing our best to ensure only those residents who have truly been impacted by the floods receive aid," she continued.
DCFS has strong safeguards in place to ensure that only eligible citizens receive DSNAP benefits. The department will pursue prosecution, restitution, and disqualification of future benefits for anyone who receives fraudulent aid. Citizens can report fraud by visiting www.dcfs.la.gov/ReportFraud or calling 1-888-LA-HELPU (1-888-524-3578) and selecting option 7.
The 23 parishes included in the March 21-26 DSNAP operation were: Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, DeSoto, Claiborne, Grant, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Richland, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Carroll, and Winn.
About Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP)
DSNAP, formerly called Disaster Food Stamps, provides food assistance to eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster. The program is funded by the USDA Federal Nutrition Service, which sets guidelines for the program. Residents should pre-register for the program at www.dcfs.la.gov/dsnap. A complete schedule and locations for the seven parishes accepting DSNAP applications this week can be found on the DCFS website here.