• To ease Irma burden, food stamp recipients can get benefits before scheduled time

    By: Shelia Poole, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


    The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services has released September’s allotment of food stamp benefits to help ease any burden caused by Tropical Storm Irma. 

    Georgia recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can now access their September benefits via their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards, and do not have to wait until their regularly-scheduled issuance date later this month.  The step will help low-income families buy food or replace food lost in the storm, which is making its way through.

    [READ: Irma: Minute-By-Minute]

    Georgia DFCS worked over the weekend with its EBT vendor, Conduent, and with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to issue the remaining September benefits early for all SNAP recipients, particularly for those who live in counties covered by a state of emergency declaration. 

    About 1.6 million residents in the state rely on SNAP benefits.

    “We share the concern of Georgia families who are bracing for this historic storm,” DFCS Director Bobby Cagle said in a release. “We worked with our vendors and our federal partners to be sure that, in addition to taking measures to keep their families’ safe, Georgians don’t also have to worry where their next meal will come from.”

    [READ: Irma leaves trail of damage in Georgia]

    The early release also helps power companies, who must verify recipients’ power outages for them to replace food that may have perished in an outage lasting four hours or more. 

    Georgians who have trouble using their EBT card should call 1-888-421-3281. DFCS will post ongoing updates, including information on storm-related office closures, at the DFCS website.

    We have teams of reporters and photographers fanned out throughout Florida and Georgia for continuing coverage of Irma. 
    Severe Weather Team 2 is working to bring you the latest forecasts and LIVE coverage from some of the most heavily impacted areas as the massive storm approaches Georgia.
    Stay with WSBTV.com and Channel 2 Action News over the next several days for the most updated information around the clock.

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