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Last updateTue, 20 Nov 2018 12am

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    Monday, November 19, 2018-12:20:44P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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FNS approves Emergency Food Assistance and Supplemental Disaster Assistance for NMI

(Office of the Governor) — Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres announced on Wednesday that the Food and Nutrition Service approved his request to operate the Emergency Food Assistance for Victims of Disaster pursuant to Part XI and Exhibit D of the Nutrition Assistance Program manual of operation due to impacts from Typhoon Mangkhut.

This emergency food assistance program is referred to as the Disaster NAP or D-NAP.

“We are very pleased that FNS has approved my request for emergency food assistance for the island of Rota. Since the beginning of the storm, we prioritized the safety and well-being of our families on Rota so that they receive the help they need. This work hasn’t stopped after the Ayuda Luta relief drive. We are making sure that disaster food assistance is provided to affected households. This is just the beginning as FNS now moves to approving the NAP FFY 2019 Budget, which includes the increase in income eligibility standards so that more of our families and the most vulnerable in our community receive the assistance they need. Our DCCA and NAP staff really played a key role in all of this,” Governor Torres said.

 “We are tremendously happy that the FNS has approved disaster food assistance for Rota,” said Secretary of Community and Cultural Affairs Robert Hunter.

 “This assistance will provide a food benefit to every single household on Rota, as well as additional assistance to NAP households.  Our NAP has already carried out a replacement of food assistance benefit to NAP households on Rota. The FNS decided to postpone the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding document that allows us to go forward with the income eligibility increase, until they approve this disaster plan.  Now that we have received positive affirmation of the plan from the FNS, we are expecting the signing of that MOU within the next few days,” Secretary Hunter added.

The CNMI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will operate D-NAP to serve households that resided and/or worked in Rota, on September 9, 2018.

According to NAP Administrator Walter Macaranas the Emergency Food Assistance distribution will be divided into two programs D-NAP assistance and Supplemental Disaster Assistance.

 “D-NAP is primarily for Non-NAP households which includes individuals who were residing in the disaster designated area, in this case Rota, at the time Typhoon Mangkhut struck the island on September 10-11, 2018.  This means that residents, although not a U.S. citizen, may apply for disaster assistance. However, household income verification for eligibility still applies under D-NAP based on Fiscal Year 2018 income eligibility guidelines, but there is a deviation from the normal standards,” Macaranas said.

 “What this means is that disaster related expenses can be deducted from a household’s income which may render a household eligible for D-NAP. For example, a household who experienced food loss can deduct the value of that loss from their gross income for the disaster period; the difference derived is then compared against the FY 2018 income guideline to determine eligibility.  Disaster related expenses include food loss; reduction or termination of income as a direct result of the disaster; cost for replacing or repairing household goods, clothing, food, and property; cost for temporary shelter or medical expenses, etc.,” he added.

Household resources or accessible bank accounts such as checking or savings account will be verified and compared the NAP’s FY 2018 resources limit. The disaster period authorized for this Emergency Food Assistance is from September 9 to October 8, 2018. This means that the NAP will be verifying income, resources, household composition and disaster related expenses during this period.

“The other program is the Supplemental Disaster Assistance which is primarily for ongoing NAP households. However, not all ongoing NAP households may be eligible. Supplemental benefits will be given to NAP households on Rota who receive less than the maximum benefits allowed. For example, a household of two (2) who received $400 in September 2018 will given a $269 supplemental benefit to bring up them to the maximum benefit of $629.  Households who already receive the maximum benefit in September 2018, which are households who have reported no income in the regular NAP program, are not eligible,” Macaranas noted.

Documentations will be required as part of the verification process. NAP will be requesting for documentation such valid photo identification of the applicant, birth certificates or passports to verify household composition; billings such telephone, utility, cable, etc. to verify residency; pay stubs to verify income; recent bank statements to verify resources; and expense receipts to verify disaster related expenses. If the D-NAP applicant does have the documentation to provide proof of the required verifications, the applicant must use the NAP-provided affidavit to declare such information.

Application period and sites

DCCA will accept D-NAP applications for five consecutive days, beginning on October 22 through October 26, 2018.

DCCA will operate at Rota Youth Center located in Sinapalo, Rota, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There will be special consideration for applicants who have been displaced from Rota due to home loss, mandatory evacuation, medical emergency, etc., but lived there on Sept. 9, 2018. Such applicants may visit the CNMI NAP office (located in As Lito) in Saipan or the DCCA office at the San Jose Public Gymnasium in Tinian, where they are temporarily residing to apply for disaster assistance and will be subject to the same application period, October 22 through October 26, 2018.

Local coupons

FNS approves the governor’s request to lift the local coupons restriction and allow the local coupons to be used to purchase imported eligible foods through Dec. 31, 2018. This flexibility only applies to Rota and to eligible resident applicants who were displaced from Rota due to home loss, evacuation and medical emergency (as a result of the storm), etc. Eligible residents will be provided individually, per household, a written authorization allowing these items for purchase with disaster or supplemental benefits on Saipan and Tinian.

Hot foods

FNS approves the governor’s request to allow NAP and D-NAP households the ability to purchase hot foods and hot food items for immediate consumption with NAP benefits through Dec. 31, 2018.