RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory announced Friday that thousands of households in an 18-county area slammed earlier this month by Hurricane Matthew may be eligible to receive Disaster Food and Nutrition Service benefits, following approval this morning of a request from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for assistance to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This benefit is for individuals who are not current recipients of Food and Nutrition Services, or food stamp benefits. It is approved for residents of Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell and Wayne counties, which were declared earlier as major disasters areas eligible for federal assistance just a few days after the hurricane struck.
Additional counties may be approved for this program in the coming days. State officials continue to review eligibility of additional counties in preparation of a second request to USDA.
“As we move into the recovery phase, I am glad that we are able to help families and individuals by providing disaster food assistance,” Gov. McCrory said. “With this approval, we will now be able to better help families get back on their feet again.”
Residents of the affected areas of these counties who are not currently receiving Food and Nutrition Services benefits may qualify for assistance for a one-month period if their home was damaged or destroyed or they have disaster related expenses or they lost income or had food loss as a result of a power outage or household flooding resulting from Hurricane Matthew. Eligibility is based on available income and resources.
Those applying for Disaster Food and Nutrition Services benefits must provide proof of identity along with proof of residency (if available). Applicants must apply in the county where they reside.
Current Food and Nutrition Services recipients, not receiving the maximum allotment of FNS benefits, will automatically receive a supplemental benefit and need not apply for the Disaster Food and Nutrition Services program.
Bladen County residents can look into benefits at five locations in the county between Oct. 22-26 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.. Those locations and specific dates are:
— Department of Social Services, Oct. 22-26
— Tar Heel Fire Department, Oct. 22-26
— Bladenboro Fire Department, Oct. 22-26
— Lower Bladen County Communities Citizen Building, Oct. 22-26
— Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center, Oct. 26