You can get some help if you receive food assistance from the Department of Human Services and the power outages caused by recent storms ruined food in their homes. DHS spokesman Roger Munns says some electric outages lasted for days, and even in the cold weather, groceries were no good in many freezers and refrigerators that quit working.
The storm caused a loss of food some had purchased with their government benefits. People who had that happpen can go their local county DHS office, explain the loss, and as long as they qualify can ask for that amount to be put back onto their Electronic Benefit Card. Munns says the plastic cards replaced old-fashioned paper food stamps completely almost three years ago.
All benefits are now electronic, on the cards that look just like an ATM or credit card. That’s deliberate, as he says it’s not only handy to use the EBT cards, there is no stigma for those receiving aid when they make purchases just like any other customer. "It’s the dignity factor," says Munns. He says DHS has made a special effort in recent years to make sure any Iowan who qualifies for benefits will get them. Some aid, like food assistance, costs the state nothing because it comes directly from the federal government. Earlier this week, Radio Iowa reported on small DHS grants for housing that are also aimed at people who suffered expenses because of damage from the winter storms.