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Newsroom SRS to issue replacement food stamp benefits due to power outage in West Region

In an effort to help Kansans recover from the effects of the winter storms that hit the state December 28 through December 31, 2006, SRS will offer food stamp benefit replacement to cover the loss of food from power outages. 

The impact of this storm has been tremendous, said Governor Kathleen Sebelius. It is imperative that we fulfill the critical needs of those Kansans who have been affected.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for the replacement of benefits dictate that individuals must contact their local SRS office or case manager within 10 days of a loss. SRS is working on a waiver to extend that time frame to 20 days due to the severity of the storm and continued power outage in some areas. 

Caseworkers will work with recipients to determine value of the food lost and complete the necessary paperwork. Follow up verification will be coordinated with emergency management officials. SRS is only able to replace up to one month of benefits. In most cases, benefits should be restored within 24 hours. 

At this time officials have determined that the Western Kansas storm situation does not fit the criteria for the issuance of disaster food stamps. However, SRS will continue to monitor the weather and the accompanying impact to see if the issue needs to be reconsidered. 

During times of great disruption, SRS strives to respond in a timely manner to ensure everyone's needs are met, said SRS Acting Secretary Don Jordan. SRS will provide continued support to the West Region during the recovery process. 

The SRS West Region includes 46 counties, 43 of the 46 counties were affected by the storm. Counties affected by this storm are Cheyenne, Clark, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kiowa, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita. 

Estimates indicate these storms left approximately 69,000 residents and businesses without power for more than 48 hours. It is estimated that it will be another three weeks before all service is able to be reconnected. 

Approximately 7,550 households receive food stamps in the West region. It is unclear at this time how many families have been impacted and what the loss amount may be. 

SRS offers food assistance (also known as food stamps) to low income individuals and families to buy food from the local grocery store. The cost is electronically subtracted from the person's Vision card account. The Vision card looks and acts like a debit card. 

Eligible individuals include persons who work, but have a low income, as well as those who do not work, persons who live together and buy food together (household members do not have to be related to be considered part of the household), and persons age 60 and over and persons with disabilities such as those receiving Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability payments, certain Veteran's disability payments, disability retirement benefits for a permanent disability and railroad disability. 

The amount of assistance is based on household size and income. SRS asks that all those in need of food assistance, please apply. 

For more information or to apply for services call or visit your nearest SRS office, call toll-free 1-888-369-4777, or visit .