- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says it has issued more than $19.1 million in disaster food benefits to households recovering from floods in 23 parishes.

Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says the agency is opening new sites Wednesday in seven more parishes: Allen, Ascension, Calcasieu, Jackson, Rapides, Red River and Sabine.

Walters said Tuesday that 51,720 households have received benefits and the agency has denied benefits to 4,900 applicants.

She said some of those denied knew they had not been affected by floods. She said anyone who gets aid through a fraudulent application will be prosecuted, required to pay back the money and disqualified from future benefits.

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program used to be called Disaster Food Stamps.

The program is for households that don’t get regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits but need help buying groceries because of lost income or damages from a disaster.

The 23 parishes in the March 21-26 operation were: Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, DeSoto, Claiborne, Grant, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Richland, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.

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