In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has given Florida the go-ahead to approve automatic mass replacements of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits around the state.
SNAP recipients who experienced food loss from power outages and flooding in 12 counties — Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Wakulla and Washington — may be eligible for replacement, which doesn't require households to report their losses individually.
"Many Florida residents lost everything, including food they had previously purchased with their SNAP benefits," said Brandon Lipps, acting deputy under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the USDA, in a statement. "The replacement of SNAP benefits will help victims restock the food they need as they begin the long process of recovery."
Recipients in other zip codes can request replacement by filling out an affidavit with their local offices that handle hurricane-related loss.
Mass replacement of SNAP benefits is the latest action that the USDA has taken to ensure Sunshine State residents have the means to purchase food after the storm. Over the weekend, SNAP recipients could start buying ready-to-eat hot items, which are normally aren't covered.