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STORM UPDATE: Replacement SNAP Benefits Available to Current Program Participants

Star Staff Reports

mlgw_original copyNASHVILLE – Shelby County residents currently enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) who lost power for 12 hours or more may be eligible for replacement benefits. Shelby County residents who are

not enrolled in the SNAP program are not eligible to receive SNAP replacement benefits due to loss of power.

To be eligible for the replacement benefits, the household must:

  Be current SNAP recipients;

  Have been without power for 12 hours; or

  Have experienced other household misfortunes that have caused the loss of food.

SNAP recipients must request replacement benefits within 10 (ten) calendar days of experiencing food loss. Once approved, replacement benefits are issued to current recipients using their existing EBT card. To request* replacement benefits, current SNAP recipients can call the Family Assistance Service Center at 1-866-311-4287, or visit one of two Tennessee Department of Human Services Offices in

Shelby County:

North Branch Office

3230 Jackson Avenue Memphis, TN 38122 Office Hours: 7:00 am – 4:30 pm

Welles Branch Office

3360 South Third Street Memphis, TN 38109 Office Hours: 7:00 am – 4:30 pm

An affidavit must be signed as part of the eligibility process. *Due to the extent of outages, wait times may be longer than usual.

Shelby County residents that do not currently receive SNAP benefits can apply online at, or in person at the office locations listed above.

Seeking federal disaster assistance:

From Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland… We’ve had a lot of questions about federal disaster assistance, so we want to explain it clearly.

Two things must happen to start the process: Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has to declare a state of emergency, and local government must exceed $9.07 million in costs related to the storm. Mayor Luttrell has made that declaration, and we are working as I write this to tabulate our estimates.

This information then goes to Gov. Bill Haslam. He would then forward that information to the federal government. If we meet the criteria, that opens the door to three things:

1) Assistance from the federal government to local government for a partial reimbursement of our costs. This would be storm cleanup costs, damages to infrastructure or government buildings, etc.

2) Assistance from the federal government to individuals to pay for your damages. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could open a processing center in Shelby County, where individuals could apply for federal financial assistance. (One prerequisite would be that at least 100 uninsured homes must have been catastrophically damaged.)

3) Assistance from the federal government to small businesses. This could mean low-interest Small Business Administration loans for businesses affected by the storm.

I’ll update you when we know more.

Replacing SNAP benefits: We’ve also had a few questions about how SNAP recipients could go about replacing their benefits. The state has all of that information here.

Latest numbers: MLGW President & CEO Jerry Collins and Vice President Alonzo Weaver briefed me today on the power restoration efforts. From a high of 188,000 customers that lost power at the peak of the storm, we’re now below 60,000 customers without power.

This is the third-largest power outage in Shelby County history.

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May 2017
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