DHS tells disaster food stamps applicants to be honest - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

DHS tells disaster food stamps applicants to be honest

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Despite the heat and the long line, some South Mississippians at the Coast Convention Center in Biloxi said the chance to get help buying food in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac was well worth the wait. Despite the heat and the long line, some South Mississippians at the Coast Convention Center in Biloxi said the chance to get help buying food in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac was well worth the wait.
In the first two days of applications, officials said they received an estimated $2 million in relief requests and that doesn't include Friday's applications. In the first two days of applications, officials said they received an estimated $2 million in relief requests and that doesn't include Friday's applications.
The final day to apply for disaster food stamps is Saturday from 7am until 6pm. The final day to apply for disaster food stamps is Saturday from 7am until 6pm.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

"Please be honest." That's the message the Mississippi Department of Human Services is giving to people applying for disaster food stamp benefits. 

In the first two days of applications, officials said they received an estimated $2 million in relief requests and that doesn't include Friday's applications. Before any benefits go out, DHS is checking to make sure only those who qualify get help.

Despite the heat and the long line, some South Mississippians at the Coast Convention Center in Biloxi said the chance to get help buying food in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac was well worth the wait.

"It's a blessing," said Dakari Watson. "After all that water flooded my job and stuff we weren't able to go to work for a week so it's going to help out a lot."

DHS officials haven't tallied how many people have applied. However, they want to stress that disaster benefits will only go to those who meet all the requirements which includes having had damage to their homes or job sites.

"Make sure that they lived in the disaster area and they had to have had damage to their homes or property," said Dana Kidd of DHS. "Those are the only individuals that we're helping at this point."

Officials won't just be taking people at their word. Before any money goes out, there's a verification process including cross checking addresses on applications with damage reports from emergency management offices.

"At this location we're only doing intake. We're sending all the applications in to a processing center who will process the applications within 72 hours of them getting their application completed," Kidd said. "Once they go to the processing center, the information will be verified and checked through our system to make sure that they're not already receiving benefits. If they're already receiving benefits, they're not going to be eligible for disaster benefits."

Kidd said, "We're asking everyone to please be honest with us because information is being verified through our agency and also through Emergency Management."

DHS officials said people who already receive food stamps who lost their food during the hurricane can apply for replacement benefits, which is separate from the disaster program. There is also a provision for those who cannot go to an intake site.

"If someone is not available to come or they can't make it down here to our site, we do have authorized representative forms," Kidd said. "They can have completed and send someone down here so they can get the application processed for them."

The final day to apply for disaster food stamps is Saturday from 7am until 6pm.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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