Food Assistance in a Disaster (Food Stamps)

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I have a food stamp Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card from Iowa. Can I use it in another state where I am staying?

  • Yes. The card is good anywhere in the United States.

I lost my EBT card. How can I get a new one?

  • You can make a toll-free call.
  • The Iowa EBT customer service number is 1-800-359-5802.

What if I lost food when my power was out because of the disaster?

  • DHS does give replacement food stamps in disasters.
  • You had to be on food stamps to get replacement food stamps. Households have 10 calendar days from when they discovered the food loss to complete the application. The application is available at DHS offices and here:
  • If you asked for replacement food stamps and were denied, you can appeal. To appeal, write to the food stamp office where you applied.
  • Contact DHS for more information.

Can I get disaster food stamps?

  • Disaster Food Stamps are only available if there has been a federally-declared disaster with individual assistance benefits.
  • If you live in a county in Iowa that was declared a Presidential disaster area. To qualify a household must because of the disaster have expenses resulting from at least one of the following:
    • Loss of food;
    • Damage to, or destruction of the household's home;
    • Damage to, or destruction of a household member's self-employment business;
    • Seeking temporary shelter;
    • Disaster-related personal injury;
    • Disaster-related expenses not expected to be reimbursed during the disaster period; or
    • Loss or inaccessibility of income.

How to Apply:

  • There is a special disaster application for this program. Applications will only be taken for a limited time. Applications will be taken at the FEMA disaster site offices as they are set up, or residents may contact their local DHS offices to apply. Some people who would not qualify for Food Assistance under the regular rules may qualify for Disaster Food Assistance. DHS encourages all households affected by the disaster to apply. To find the nearest DHS office call "211" or go to: DHS Offices Map
  • If you currently receive Food Assistance you may get benefits in addition to what you have already received.

What is the difference between "expedited" food stamps and "emergency" food stamps?

  • Usually, "expedited" food stamps are regular food stamps very needy people get a week after applying.
  • Disaster or "emergency" food stamps are short-term disaster benefits offered in select areas to people not eligible under normal rules. These food stamps go to people who need food assistance because they have lost income and other financial resources because of the disaster.
  • Not everyone with disaster-related food losses can get disaster food stamps.
  • To get disaster food stamps, you must meet federal eligibility requirements.
  • Emergency food stamp benefits can also give extra help to people who get regular food stamps.



How do I know if I qualify for expedited food stamps?


  • To get expedited food stamps, your income and resources must be low enough to meet normal food stamp requirements. For information about food stamp eligibility, go to the Iowa Legal Aid website at and click on Legal Information and Other Resources for Iowans. Then, go to the section called Food Assistance. You can also call our toll-free number: 1-800-272-0008.
  • You must also show one of the following:
    • Your household has no more than $150 in monthly income before taxes and no more than $100 in cash or in bank accounts; OR
    • Your basic shelter and utility expenses are greater than your present income and resources combined; OR
    • Migrant or seasonal farmworker households with assets of $100 or less whose income is starting or stopping.

Where can I get more information?

  • Iowa DHS: Disaster Assistance Programs
  • Iowa Legal Aid helps eligible clients with "civil" or non-criminal problems. If you have further questions and need legal help, call Iowa Legal Aid at 1 800-532-1275.
Last Review and Update: Oct 04, 2022
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