ATLANTA – Georgians hit hardest by Hurricane Michael can apply for assistance to support their families under a temporary program supported by the Administration for Children and Families and the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services.
DFCS will implement a Disaster Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or DTANF, in 20 Georgia counties to support families as they continue to recover from the storm. Those determined eligible for assistance will receive one lump-sum payment for the family size equal to the sum of four months of benefits.
Officials with DFCS said Georgia has never implemented a DTANF program in the state’s history and may be the first state to do so.
The program extends assistance to low-income families who have suffered a loss of housing because of a natural disaster. More than 33,000 applications were submitted for Federal Emergency Management Agency individual assistance, and some of those families are also potentially eligible for DTANF.
The DTANF application period will run Monday through March 15 for residents of the following counties: Baker, Crisp, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Worth, Calhoun, Clay, Laurens, Randolph, Sumter, Tift and Turner.
To qualify for DTANF, Georgians must meet the following criteria:
— Provide proof of application for FEMA individual assistance;
— Reside in one of the 20 counties declared for FEMA individual assistance at the time of the disaster;
— Provide photo identification and proof of residency at the time of the disaster;
— Household includes minor children under the age of 18, or 18 and in school;
— Meet TANF basic eligibility;
— Gross income under 300 percent of federal poverty limit for household size at the time of the disaster.
Current TANF recipients who opt to receive DTANF will have their current TANF case closed for a minimum of four months, officials with DFCS said.
The creation of a DTANF program is the fifth such action Georgia DFCS has taken to provide relief to low-income families since the hurricane hit south Georgia on Oct. 10. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, DFCS ran a successful disaster food stamp, or DSNAP, program in 20 counties that were federally approved to receive such relief. The goal was to provide relief to low-income families.
On Oct. 13, DFCS released the monthly allotment of SNAP benefits early. DFCS, on Oct. 16, also extended the deadline for families to report food lost in power outages. To date, DFCS has replaced more than $24.9 billion to 187,000 individuals in food stamp benefits to cover the loss of food spoiled in power outages.
DFCS officials said they have also worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow SNAP recipients in affected counties to purchase “hot” or prepared foods using their benefits, which is typically not allowed under the program. The “hot food waiver” was in effect until Nov. 17 for SNAP recipients in 23 south Georgia counties.
DFCS administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, a federally-funded program that provides monthly benefits to low-income households to help pay for the cost of food. DFCS is responsible for issuance of SNAP, Medicaid and TANF to low-income families, assistance for out-of-work parents to help them get back on their feet, as well as multiple support services and programs to help families in need.
Eligibility for DTANF requires an interview. Completed applications must be mailed to: Disaster TANF, P.O. Box 161388, Atlanta, Ga. 30321 and must be postmarked by March 15. Applications received after this date will not be accepted.
Applications may be picked up at county DFCS offices, or applicants may call 1-833-GA-DTANF (1-833-423-8263) to request an application. The phone lines will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily.
For more information on the DTANF program, visit www.dfcs.georgia.gov or call the above phone number.