Louisiana DSNAP application window closes on Wednesday

BATON ROUGE – Wednesday, October 13 is the last day for residents affected by Hurricane Ida to apply for disaster food assistance.

Louisiana received approval on September 29 to extend its application period after the program’s hotline was plagued with long waits and suspended calls for more than a week.

This is the second largest DSNAP event since Hurricane Gustav. Approximately $ 57.4 million in benefits have been paid to date.

“We have probably taken over 260,000 calls at this point and handled over 180,000 cases,” DCFS Asst said. Family Support Secretary Shavana Howard.

At the beginning, 350 calls arrived per second. This led to DCFS extending hours and making changes to help people who couldn’t apply within the allotted time, including a virtual hold option.

“Individuals can leave their phone numbers and we’ll return those calls, and we were able to return all of these calls,” Howard said.

In the beginning there were around 700 people answering the phone, 1,200 at the loudest, and now around 1,000 people answering the phone to help survivors. More personnel were brought in from Texas, Oklahoma and other departments in the state of Louisiana.

Parishes eligible for DSNAP include Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupée, Saint-Bernard, Saint-Charles, Sainte-Hélène, Saint-Jacques, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Saint-Martin (only postal codes 70339 and 70380 of the parish of Lower St. Martin), the parishes of St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.

During the extension, residents of these parishes who have not yet made a request to the DSNAP can call 888 524-3578 on the following days according to the following alphabetical schedule:

October 11 – Residents whose last name begins with AL
October 12 – MZ
October 13 – AZ (open to all surnames)

Going forward, DCFS says it plans to work closely with the federal government and start working with other states before the program launches to better manage and process phone calls. The virtual hold option will become an essential element for DSNAP in the future.

Read the statement from the Ministry of Children and Family Services below.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services received federal approval to extend its Hurricane Ida Disaster Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (DSNAP) by three days to give more time for the large number of candidates to complete the DSNAP interviews.

According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service approved request, the DSNAP extension period will begin on October 11 and end on October 13.

In the first phase of DSNAP operations, DCFS staff responded to over 100,000 calls and handled over 73,000 requests. Higher-than-expected call volumes blocked phone lines. Sometimes the DSNAP line received up to 350 calls per second. DCFS responded by offering extended hours of operation and “virtual hold” in an effort to serve more callers and to be responsive to those with limited phone minutes. The DSNAP extension is an attempt to serve those who still have not been able to apply in their assigned week. Residents of phase 1 parishes must wait until October 11 and 13 to apply and be interviewed, and should not call during phase 2 or 3 as they will not be able to be served during those weeks. The same goes for residents in phase 2 if they miss their week to apply, they must wait for the extension period to complete their DSNAP application.