Food stamp applicants in Louisiana nearly double
An increasing number of Louisiana residents are applying for food stamps due to the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SNAP is the government program that helps nearly 770,000 Louisiana residents purchase food and according to The Advocate, on Monday of this week the number of SNAP applicants nearly doubled.
Much of this increase is due to workers preparing for a decrease in pay.
Most businesses in the state are already withstanding significant financial losses due to the event cancellations, a lack of walk-in customers, and depleted stock from supplies and other factors.
Sammy Guillory, the state's deputy assistant secretary who oversees SNAP, said he's not sure exactly how many applications were submitted Monday. But he knows that individual staffers across the system reported handling twice as many new people applied for help than is normally the case.
“With this pandemic, we’re getting a lot of people who have recently lost wages,” Guillory said.
“We believe more people may be eligible for SNAP benefits due to many being off work during this time, and we want to make sure they know what food assistance is available and how they can apply,” said DCFS Secretary Marketa Walters in a prepared statement.
The application effort has been made more difficult by DCFS shutting down most face-to-face interactions to limit potential exposure. The agency closed the Orleans Region offices and is transitioning to a reduced workforce on-site in other offices statewide.
Calculating one's SNAP eligibility is fairly complicated and multiple factors must be weighed. But, very generally, a family of four with an annual net income below $21,046 is eligible for a maximum of $646/month to help pay for groceries.
Those specifically looking for a SNAP application can text GETSNAP (no spaces) to 898211; visit www.dcfs.la.gov/getSNAP; email LAHelpU.DCFS@la.gov or call 1-888-LA-HELP-U (1-888-524-3578) between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.