WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration will issue disaster food stamps to residents of San Diego County, California, affected by wildfires, acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner said Thursday.
Some 62,000 county residents are estimated to receive the emergency aid. Food stamps are the major federal anti-hunger program and help 26 million poor people buy food each month.
Disaster food stamps provide one month’s benefits. Eligibility and paperwork requirements are minimized to speed up service. The San Diego County program will run until November 19.
People not ordinarily eligible for food stamps may qualify for disaster food stamps if they spent money protecting, repairing or evacuating their homes or if they lost food or income because of the fire, said the Agriculture Department.
USDA said people already receiving food stamps may receive additional benefits if they suffered expenses due to the fire.
Conner said USDA received a request from California officials on Wednesday night for disaster food stamps in San Diego County. “This morning, we will respond to the request ... and approve it,” said Conner by telephone.