Disaster benefits available for low-income residents’ losses

Low-income state residents who incurred expenses from Tropical Storm Irene could be eligible for federal aid through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to the state Department of Social Services.

Applications for the aid will be available beginning Wednesday at all 12 DSS field offices. The application period will continue each weekday through Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The benefits are available only to people who are not enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.

Eligible households can receive food assistance ranging from $200 for a single adult to $952 for a family of six. Benefits will be issued through debit cards for buying federally approved items at supermarkets and grocery stories.

This is the first time the disaster aid is being provided in the state, according to DSS, which developed the plan.

To qualify for the benefits, known as D-SNAP, people’s income and liquid assets from Aug. 27 to Sept. 25 must have been below the following levels: $2,186 for a single person; $2,847 for a household of two; $3,272 for a household of three; $3,859 for a household of four; $4,254 for a household of five; $4,753 for a household of six; $5,116 for a household of seven; and $5,479 for a household of eight.

To find your local DSS office, visit www.ct.gov/dss or call 2-1-1. Applicants should bring proof of identity, residency, income, assets and storm-related expenses for Aug. 27 through Sept. 25. Qualified expenses from the storm include lost income, dependent care, medical or funeral costs, moving or storage costs, temporary shelter costs, and costs to protect, repair or replace property or household items. Qualified losses are those that are not covered by insurance, disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or other reimbursement.

More information, including a pre-screening tool, is available at www.ct.gov/dss. Information is also available by calling 2-1-1.