14 June 2022, US: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that low-income New Mexico residents in five counties (Colfax, Lincoln, Mora, San Miguel and Valencia) recovering from the wildfires that started on April 6, 2022, could be eligible for support from the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that households that may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may qualify for D-SNAP – if they meet certain criteria, including the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.
“USDA stands with our neighbors in New Mexico to provide vital food assistance and relief as they navigate the aftermath of the wildfires, because we recognize that the crisis doesn’t end when the smoke clears,” Vilsack said.
To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must either live or work in an identified disaster area, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Eligible households will receive one month of benefits – equal to the maximum monthly amount for a SNAP household of their size – that they can use to purchase groceries at SNAP-authorized stores or from select retailers online to meet their temporary food needs as they settle back home following the disaster. New Mexico will share information about D-SNAP application dates and locations through local media.
The timing of D-SNAP varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster, Vilsack said, but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP, a state must ensure that the proper public information, staffing, and resources are in place.
The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in a battery of USDA actions taken to help New Mexico residents cope with the wildfires that started on April 6, 2022, and its aftermath, which also include:
- Approving a waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through June 13, 2022; and
- Approving timely reporting waiver for four counties (Colfax, Mora, San Miguel and Taos) through June 10, 2022, allowing affected residents more time to notify the state of food lost as a result of the wildfires.
Individuals seeking more information about this and other available aid, can dial 2-1-1 or contact New Mexico’s Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management at 505-476-9600. For more information about New Mexico SNAP, visit New Mexico’s Health Services Department.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leverages its 15 nutrition assistance programs to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have opportunities for a better future through equitable access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food, while building a more resilient food system. Under the leadership of Secretary Tom Vilsack, FNS is fighting to end food and nutrition insecurity for all through programs such as SNAP, school meals, and WIC. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.