Long Delay In Getting Disaster Food Stamps

Several hundred people waited outside for hours Wednesday to receive Hurricane Irene emergency food benefits in Pitt County.

Late in the afternoon there were still hundreds of people standing outside the county complex on Government Circle.

While no one at the Department of Social Services would speak with WITN about the delay, several of those in line said a system glitch delayed the delivery of the benefit cards.

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The deadline to apply for disaster food stamps in several counties across Eastern Carolina is Wednesday Sept. 14.

Residents of Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Hertford, Johnston, Jones, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Vance, Warren, Washington and Wilson counties must submit applications by the end of the day.

The program refers to "Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Benefits," which were formerly known as food stamps.

Here are some important notes:

- The program is open for those who do not currently qualify for food stamps. (Households that currently receive food and nutrition services benefits will automatically receive a replacement of a portion of their august 2011 benefits. These households do not need to apply for the disaster food and nutrition services program.)
-To qualify for the disaster food stamps, applicants must meet certain criteria: their home was damaged or destroyed, they have disaster-related expenses, they lost income or they lost food.
-Officials say eligibility is based on available income and resources.

For those who are applying, you need to provide proof of identity, proof of residency (like a utility bill) as well as the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for all members of your household.

There is a five-day window once counties start accepting applications. If you are approved, the temporary assistance is for one month.