Loss of Food Reminder for SNAP Customers

Published on Tuesday, December 19, 2023

As the state recovers from the latest storm, the Department of Human Services (DHS) would like to remind those we serve that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers may seek and receive replacement SNAP benefits due to a loss of food caused by a disaster. Anyone who receives SNAP and experiences a power outage lasting four or more hours may be eligible to have SNAP benefits replaced.

Households seeking to replace benefits must report the loss within 10 days. They then have an additional 10 days to submit their signed affidavit of loss; see the SNAP-55 form to report loss of food that can be found on dhs.ri.gov on the SNAP Other Forms page (direct link listed below).

Link for SNAP 55 form: https://dhs.ri.gov/programs-and-services/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/supplemental-nutrition-1

DHS typically gets a list from Rhode Island Energy to confirm power outages. Though this may happen, the verification of loss can be from a landlord, neighbor, community agency staff member, etc. It does not need to be the power company. DHS staff are trained on assisting customers with the SNAP-55 process and are ready to help those who need support.

SNAP recipients who lose food due to power outage are encouraged to seek replacement benefits. However, in the event that at least 50 percent of a certain community (eg. city, zip code) is reported to be without power for more than four hours, the Department may opt to apply for and receive a waiver from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) for mass replacement of benefits. This will allow for an automated mass replacement of a percentage of SNAP benefits for households in the designated cities and towns.