Disaster SNAP Application Process is Unduly Burdensome for the Disabled

Hurricane Harvey Affected Counties (Texas) –  Lone Star Legal Aid attorneys Jeff Larsen, Lindsay Eustace, and Brenda Willett have contacted the office of Governor Greg Abbott concerning access to the current DSNAP application sites for our disabled client community.  Limited times and locations available for applications with no alternative form of application are unduly burdensome.

“The D-SNAP application process has been seriously inadequate in its lack of public information, contact and coordination with FEMA’s DRCs and shelters, capacity for the volume of hurricane victims, accommodation or alternate procedure for procedure for people who are not able to get to one of the selected locations, and wait through the long lines,” Larsen said in his letter to Governor Abbott.

Larsen, Eustace, and Willett have requested that adequate public notices be made.  LSLA staff has found that most people they encountered at shelters, disaster recovery centers, and shelters have never heard about DSNAP.  They haven’t seen it on the news, heard about it on the radio, or read about it in the paper.  There are also not enough locations where applications can be made and they are not open long enough to accommodate the demand.  “Some of our disabled clients just cannot stand in line for 4-5 hours,” Willett says.  One of her clients had neck surgery last year and is insulin dependent.  She requires heavy medication to help with the pain.  After waiting for a few hours on several attempts to apply, she has been in so much pain; she simply could no longer wait.  She still has not been able to apply.

Larsen, Eustace, and Willett have made a formal Request for Disaster Assistance to the Governor asking his help and for him to make a request to the federal agency to ask them to allow an extension of the filing period and that there be a paper (or alternative) DSNAP application so that advocates can assist their clients in applying for assistance.

Lone Star Legal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit law firm focused on advocacy on behalf of low-income and underserved populations. Lone Star Legal Aid serves the millions of people at 125% of federal poverty guidelines that reside in 72 counties in the eastern and Gulf Coast regions of Texas, and also 4 counties of southwest Arkansas. Lone Star Legal Aid focuses its resources on maintaining, enhancing, and protecting income and economic stability; preserving housing;  improving outcomes for children; establishing and sustaining family safety and stability, health and well‐being; and assisting populations with special vulnerabilities, such as those who have disabilities, or who are elderly, homeless, or have limited English language skills. To learn more about Lone Star Legal Aid, visit our website at www.lonestarlegal.org.

Media contact: Clarissa Ayala, cayala@lonestarlegal.org