December 9, 2002
FOOD PURCHASED WITH FOOD STAMPS AND RUINED BY POWER OUTAGE CAN BE REPLACED
CHARLOTTE, NC -- People who used Food Stamps this month to purchase food that has since been ruined by the loss of power at their homes can have their Food Stamps replaced.
Last Wednesday's ice storm caused power outages throughout the state and thousands of Mecklenburg County residents still do not have any power at their homes. County health officials advise discarding refrigerated foods because of the extended loss of power.
Replacing that food will be a hardship for many, particularly those people whose low income makes them eligible for the Food Stamps program. That's where the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) can help. The department has a regular replacement policy that is available to help with situations where food purchased with Food Stamps benefits is destroyed in a household misfortune, such as a power outage.
"If you have lost food due to a loss of power at your residence, and that food was purchased with food stamps, then you are eligible for reimbursement," said Diana Tini, ESD assistant director. The County has more than 23,000 Food Stamp customers.
Food Stamps customers who received Food Stamps this month should contact their caseworker to report the loss. DSS must have a signed statement from all customers whose Food Stamps are to be replaced. DSS does NOT need any statements from Duke Power or anyone else to verify the customer's outage; the customer's signed statement is sufficient to replace their loss.
If the customer reports by telephone, they must do one of the following:
· Send in a written and signed statement verifying their food loss
· Request a form to be mailed to them; then complete, sign and return the form
If the customer comes to DSS, they must:
· Report to the first floor lobby of the main DSS building, the Kuralt Centre at 301 Billingsley Road in Charlotte, to complete the paperwork. All Front Desk personnel at the Kuralt Centre have the forms for customers requesting Food Stamp replacement.