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Replacement Food Benefits, Hot Food Purchases Available to Kentuckians Following Historic Storms, Tornadoes

Bill Stephens

December 29th, 2021

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Federal approval of three Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program waivers received

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 28, 2021) – Kentuckians receiving federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits who lost food due to the storms or related power outages when the Dec. 10-11 storms and tornadoes devastated Western Kentucky can request benefit replacement and use benefits to purchase hot food.

Current SNAP beneficiaries can call the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) at 855-306-8959 or visit their county’s DCBS office to request replacements. The benefits are available through a waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Replacements can be requested until Jan. 8, 2022.

Another waiver, approved Dec. 23, provides automatic replacements of December benefits to some residents of Warren County, Hickman County, Mayfield, Dawson Springs, Auburn and Pembroke. This replacement applies to households who received their December benefits prior to the storms. SNAP households not covered by this automatic replacement will need to call DCBS to request a replacement.

A third waiver allows the purchase of hot food from authorized SNAP retailers with their benefits. Kentuckians residing in the following counties may make hot food purchases through Jan. 17, 2022: Adair, Allen, Barren, Butler, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Casey, Christian, Crittenden, Daviess, Edmonson, Fulton, Graves, Green, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Larue, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, Marion, Marshall, McClean, McCracken, Metcalfe, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Simpson, Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Warren and Webster. USDA emphasized the importance of the waiver, noting that many Kentucky residents evacuated to shelters, cannot store food, and lack access to cooking facilities as a result. 

Gov. Andy Beshear today said, “Kentuckians have suffered terribly from these historic storms and we are thankful that these additional food benefits are available to help nourish those in need.”

The Governor urged those affected by the storms to visit governor.ky.gov/tornado resources to learn more about the food benefits and other resources for storm survivors.

“We are grateful for these waivers to help Kentuckians whose homes and property were damaged or destroyed by this historic storm,” Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander said. “It’s reassuring to know that storm victims can receive these essential benefits.”

“The approved Hot Foods waiver will help Kentuckians receive increased access to hot meals for themselves and their families,” said USDA Southeast Regional Administrator Willie C. Taylor. “This waiver is a vital step to keep SNAP participants healthy and moving forward as they recover from the recent tornado storm damage.”

Under normal circumstances, hot foods cannot be bought using SNAP benefits. SNAP authorized retailers have been notified of the approval. Retailers in the state may need as much as 24 to 36 hours to make changes that will allow the sale of hot foods, and where practical, customers may remain on the premises to consume those foods.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is ready to consider additional waivers that may be needed to help program participants who have lost food due to the disaster and to simplify the application process for affected households, upon request from DCBS.

Kentuckians who believe they may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits should call the DCBS call center at 1-855-306-8959 or visit kynect.ky.gov to apply. Applications may also be made at local DCBS offices.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in disaster-designated counties can apply for other types of assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY (1-800-462-7585, for deaf or hard-of-hearing). The toll-free numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

For more information about applying for benefits or finding community resources, please visit kynect.

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