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SNAP Early February Benefit Distribution - 2019 Partial Federal Government Shutdown

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Due to the partial federal government shutdown, most Louisiana SNAP recipients received their February benefits on January 16, 2019. 


Cases that were awaiting further action on Jan. 14, including redeterminations and simplified reports that were in progress, and new applications received since then, will continue to be processed on the regular schedule for February benefits. Keep your case on track by keeping your interview appointment and turning in all requested documents as soon as possible.


Clients who received their February benefits early should budget their benefits to last through February and into March. Those who were part of the early issuance will not receive additional benefits in February for that month. These benefits do NOT have to be used by the end of January or February; they are good for up to 365 days from the date of issuance. EBT cards will continue to work through February and beyond, and stores will continue to accept them.

New Applications Welcome

If you have a food need, please apply. DCFS is continuing to process new SNAP applications during the partial federal government shutdown. New applications can take up to 30 days to process (though the average time is shorter), so please apply as soon as possible.

SNAP logo

Government Shutdown FAQs

Download Information Flyer [Updated 01.17.19]

EBT Cards

Follow Louisiana DCFS for Updates


Rumor Control
EBT cards will not shut down on February 24.
SNAP clients who received February benefits early do not have to use them all by the end of January or February; they are good for up to 365 days from the date of issuance.


Press Releases
01.17.19Early Issuance of February SNAP Benefits for Louisianans Complete

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) completed the early issuance of February Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits late Wednesday evening.

All households that were certified eligible for February benefits on or before Jan. 14 have received those benefits. Cases pending on that date and new applications continue to be processed.

These are early benefits for February, not extra benefits, and should be budgeted carefully to last into March. SNAP recipients who were included in this early issuance will not receive additional benefits in February for that month. More

01.16.19Update on SNAP Benefits in Louisiana
Monday (1/14/19), we announced that most Louisiana SNAP recipients will receive their February benefits early - on or before Jan. 20 - as a result of the partial federal government shutdown.

Every state is handling the early issuance differently, in accordance with their own procedures, schedule and client considerations. Unfortunately, we are seeing some misinformation about Louisiana SNAP benefits as a result of people sharing information from other states.

All official information about Louisiana SNAP benefits will be posted on the DCFS website at and will be shared on the department's Facebook page and Twitter account. More
01.14.19Louisiana Issues February SNAP Food Benefits Early
During the federal government's partial shutdown, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) continues to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (USDA FNS) to ensure Louisiana's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients have access to their federal SNAP benefits.

As previously announced by USDA, February SNAP benefits will be available. Based on recent guidance from USDA FNS, most SNAP recipients will receive their February benefits early - on or before January 20. These are not extra benefits, but an advance issuance of February benefits. SNAP clients who receive their February benefits during this early issuance will not receive additional benefits in February for that month, and should be careful to budget their SNAP benefits to last them through the entire month of February. More

2019 Partial Federal Government Shutdown FAQs


SNAP Funding During the Federal Shutdown

How do I know when my February SNAP benefits have been issued?
SNAP recipients can find out when their most recent issuance date was by doing any of the following:
  • If you have your EBT card, you can call the number on the back of the card, 888-997-1117.
  • If you have access to a computer, you can log into your CAFÉ account, then click on Check My Cases. Select SNAP DETAILS, and you should see the screen show below, which will include the most recent benefit issue date at the bottom.
  • You can call 888-524-3578 and select your language, then press options 3, 1, 5, 1.
  • You can email for assistance.
Check Benefits Status on CAFE
Why are February SNAP benefits being issued early?

During the partial federal government shutdown, USDA has not yet been funded. However, a Continuing Resolution that expired Dec. 21, 2018, allows for the USDA to draw down funds for operation expenses incurred on or before Jan. 20, 2019. Therefore, SNAP recipients and applicants who have been determined eligible for February benefits before Jan. 20 will receive their benefits through that funding source on or before that date.

What about March SNAP benefits?
If the partial federal government shutdown continues through February, it is unclear whether or to what extent SNAP benefits will be issued for March. All applicants and recipients should continue to pay attention to the news. DCFS also will continue to provide updates.


Help with SNAP Applications and CAFÉ

Where do I send my documentation?
For Economic Stability programs (SNAP, KCSP, FITAP), fax documents to 225-663-3164, or mail them to:
P.O. Box 260031
Baton Rouge, LA 70826
I need to email for assistance. What information do I include in my email?
Please be sure to include the following information in your email:
  • Your name;
  • Your case number, if known; and
  • Detailed information on what you are requesting assistance with.
What are the steps I must follow to apply for benefits?

In order to apply for benefits, you must first create an online account for CAFÉ on the DCFS website ( After you successfully create your account, navigate to the My Applications Page of the CAFÉ Customer Portal and complete an electronic application for benefits. A DCFS staff member will contact you for an interview, if applicable. You can monitor the status of your application through the Application Status Page of the CAFÉ Customer Portal.

How do I create a CAFÉ account, reset my password or get my account unlocked?
Please refer to the CAFÉ Account section of our Online Help Desk.
How can I get help applying for benefits?

For questions regarding how to complete individual pages within the online application, click the Help link on the top of the page to view page-level help.

For help with computer usage, refer to the Help with Using a Computer resource on the first page of the online application by clicking the "If you haven’t used a computer very much and would like to practice before you get started, click here" link.

If you are having problems with your LA CAFE application, please contact DCFS at 888-524-3578 between the hours of 7:30 am and 6:00 pm Monday through Friday.

If you are unable to fill out the application on your own, staff at a local DCFS office are available to assist you with completing an online application. Visit a local DCFS office for in-person assistance with your online application. Some DCFS Community Partners also have someone on-site who can help you with your application. More information about services available through DCFS Community Partners can be found here.

How do I find a local office or DCFS Community Partner to assist me?

Go to the DCFS website ( and click on About Us and click on Find an Office. Enter your Parish, City or Zip Code see the list of DCFS offices and Community Partners located nearest to you. Gold-level partners have people on-site who can help you fill out an application. A list of Community Partners also can be found here.

You can also contact DCFS at 888-524-3578 between the hours of 7:30 am and 6:00 pm Monday through Friday or by email at LAHelpU.DCFS@LA.GOV and request information about the DCFS office nearest to you.

Which type of application should I complete?

If you do not currently receive benefits and wish to complete an application, you should complete an application through the My Applications Page on the CAFÉ Customer Portal.

If you already receive benefits and received notification that it is time to reapply for continued assistance, you should complete a redetermination through the My Redeterminations Page. You may only complete a redetermination if it is time for your redetermination to be completed. If you already receive benefits and would like to report changes, you should complete a change report through the Report Changes Page. If you would like to submit a simplified report and received a notification that it is time to submit your simplified report, you should complete a simplified report through the My Simplified Reporting Page.

What bills or other information do I need with me when I apply for benefits?

The exact list of documents and information needed when applying for benefits varies by applicant. However, it is a good idea to have available basic information about all household members, including their dates of birth and Social Security Numbers, as well as the household financial information such as income statements, available resources, and monthly expenses. If you are a Federal Employee and have been affected by the Federal Government Shutdown, please also have your furlough paperwork as well.

How do I know if my online application was received?

If you are submitting a new application for benefits, you can check to see what the status of your application is by doing the following steps:

  • Log into your CAFÉ account at /cafe
  • Click on My Applications
  • At the bottom of the page, there is a section called Submitted Applications (Applications you have submitted in the past 3 years)
  • If no application is listed, you may want to check the middle section called Incomplete Applications (Applications you have started but not yet submitted). If your application is listed here, you will need to click on the application # (This will open your application). Once it opens, make sure all sections are completed, then select Submit.

Reminder: When you are submitting your application, redetermination, or simplified report, you will be asked for your PIN. Your PIN was created when you made your login for CAFÉ. If you cannot remember your PIN, please check Manage My Account, as it is listed there.

Check Online Applications on CAFE
How can I check the status of my applications?

After successful submission of an online application, the status of the application will be monitored through the Customer Portal. Online status check is not available for redeterminations; however, you may see if verifications sent to DCFS were received. For Change Reports, users can view if their verifications were received by DCFS, as well. Online status check or verification status check is not available for simplified reports.

Application status information for applications submitted through the Customer Portal is found on the Application Status Check Page. The Application Status Check Page allows applicants to view the status and associated denial reasons for applications submitted online through the Customer Portal. The status information for the application is broken down into the various programs applied for with the status of the application listed for each individual program, as well as any relevant reasons for denials, if applicable.

How long will it take to complete an application online?

In general, it takes about an hour to fill out an application for benefits depending on the application circumstances.

If you are unable to complete the full application in one session, click Save & Exit from any screen within the online application to save the incomplete application. An application that is not completed will be stored to the My Applications Page on the CAFÉ Customer Portal for 30 days.

How long will it take after I submit my application to find out if I qualify?

The eligibility determination process takes up to 30 days from the date of application.

I sent in my verification documents for my application/redetermination. How do I know if DCFS received them?

For applications, click the My Applications link, then select the View Status hyperlink. From the Application Status Check Page, users can view the status of the application, including the verification status, of the application.

For redeterminations, click the My Redeterminations link, then select the View Status hyperlink. From the Verification Status Check Page, users can view the current status of the redetermination.

For a faster receipt of verification documents, use the Document Upload tool to submit scanned documents electronically.

SNAP Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.