SNAP recipients who had food spoil during storm outage may be eligible for replacement benefits

Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 16:04:33-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that residents of Grand Rapids affected by the recent power outage may be eligible for replacement food assistance benefits.

Residents in surrounding areas may also be eligible.

SNAP recipients who had food spoil as a result of the power outage can contact their caseworker to request the food assistance replacements. The deadline to request is 10 days after the date of the outage at the home.

The department says it may be able to replace lost food assistance benefits that are reported by households already receiving help under the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“Residents in those hardest hit areas should discard anything that is moldy, discolored, or has an unusual odor. MDARD encourages residents to throw anything away if they have any doubt about an item,” said Gary McDowell, director, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Potentially hazardous foods like meats, dairy products, eggs, etc. should be thrown away if they are thawed and were kept at temperatures warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When food isn’t held at the right temperatures, there is a much greater chance for foodborne illness to occur.”

Replacement food is not available to residents who are not already receiving food assistance benefits.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for the city of Grand Rapids last week due to the extreme weather conditions.

“The department understands the significant impact this storm and power outage has had on residents of the Grand Rapids area,” said Terrence Beurer, MDHHS deputy director of Field Operations Administration. “We want to make sure that people who are in need still have food to put on their tables to feed their families.”