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U.S. Department of Agriculture Institutes D-SNAP Disaster Food Stamps In The Virgin Islands

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Agriculture Department implemented USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in the Virgin Islands, making a range of households recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria eligible for benefits, according to Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Households that may not normally be eligible under regular SNAP rules may qualify for D-SNAP – if they meet the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses, Perdue said in a news release.

“This is an important step forward,” Perdue said. “Virgin Islanders are facing monumental challenges as they recover from this devastating storm. Putting food on the table to feed their hungry families shouldn’t be one of them.”

D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive two months of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of the same size, to meet their food needs. To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must have lived in an identified disaster area when either Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria struck, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria.

In addition, current SNAP recipients in the affected areas will receive disaster supplements to bring their October and November benefits up to the maximum allotment for their household size, consistent with the amount D-SNAP households will receive.

USDA has also announced that people who moved out of Texas, Florida, or Georgia, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands as a result of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, or Hurricane Maria may apply for benefits at local SNAP offices.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp said residents of the territory shouldn’t get D-SNAP now because the vast majority of people here don’t have electricity and therefore have no way to store food without it perishing.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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