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Nelson Asks For Emergency Food Benefits Extension Due To Irma

Ryan Benk
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is urging the Department of Agriculture to extend the deadline for Floridians to apply for emergency food benefits in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

In a letter Thursday to the Agriculture Secretary, Nelson says the state’s failure to properly administer the USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) has prevented thousands of eligible Floridians from getting the help they need.

Of the 48 counties initially approved for D-SNAP, only five — Broward, Marion, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Pasco — are still accepting applications.

Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) partnered with the USDA to implement the FOOD FOR FLORIDA program, which saw thousands of people waiting in line for hours to apply only to be turned away.

DCF estimated around 2-and-a-half million Florida households would apply for the emergency food assistance–but fewer than a million applications have been processed so far.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 or on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.