Vice Speaker requests DPHSS timeline of SNAP benefits

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Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson has written the Department of Public Health and Social Services, on behalf of the people of Guam, inquiring about the timeline for food stamp beneficiaries to receive notice of acceptance of their application and begin receiving benefits.

As thousands of Guam’s workers are displaced due to the current public health crisis, hundreds of island residents have submitted applications for food stamps.

Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson has written the Department of Public Health and Social Services, on behalf of the people of Guam, inquiring about the timeline for food stamp beneficiaries to receive notice of acceptance of their application and begin receiving benefits.

In her letter to DPHSS Director Linda Unpingco DeNorcey, Vice Speaker Nelson explained that her office has received calls from constituents regarding the processing of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

There have been dozens to hundreds more island residents applying for food stamps in the past two months, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, according to DPHSS.

The Vice Speaker, in addition to benefit-related timelines, also asked DPHSS for further steps applicants could take to follow up and expedite their applications. Nelson offered DPHSS any assistance by her office and the 35th Guam Legislature that would further help eligible residents receive SNAP benefits once approved.

“It has become increasingly difficult for our people to weather this crisis and many more are applying for federal assistance simply to feed their families,” said Vice Speaker Telena Cruz Nelson in a news release. “It is unconscionable that we would hold back any federal aid the people of Guam are entitled to, or that we wouldn’t extend all efforts for our people to receive financial assistance as quickly as possible.”

“Livelihoods are depending on our diligence,” the Vice Speaker added, “and we will continue working to ensure our people receive expediently the lifelines they need to survive.”

Guam residents interested in filling out an application for SNAP benefits can pick up an application at DPHSS Northern, Central and Southern sites or download an application at www.dphss.guam.gov. Completed applications can be emailed to dphss.bms@gmail.com.

(press release)

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