The Erskine Fire hit the Lake Isabella area on June 23, 2016 and caused significant damage and tremendous loss to the residents in those communities. Residents in the areas affected were evacuated from their homes and were without power for several days.
Approved Waiver for Mass CalFresh Replacement Benefits
The Department of Human Services (DHS) applied for and was granted a waiver from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide “mass/automatic replacement benefits” to households receiving CalFresh benefits and living in Lake Isabella, Weldon, Wofford Heights, Kernville, Onyx, and Bodfish. DHS has automatically replaced 30 or 45 percent of these households’ June 2016 CalFresh benefits on July 7, 2016.
CalFresh Households Not Identified in Affected Fire Areas
CalFresh households not living in the identified communities for mass CalFresh replacement benefits may apply to DHS for “replacement benefits” due to household misfortune, such as an extended power outage of at least four hours or equipment failure (such as a refrigerator or freezer). Replacement is limited to the value of the food lost or damaged, not to exceed the total monthly CalFresh benefit amount the household received.
To date over 140 families have already applied to DHS and received CalFresh replacement benefits through the Lake Isabella office due to household misfortune.
Households must begin the replacement benefit application process within 10 days of the loss. Because the evacuations and power loss occurred through June 30, 2016 CalFresh households must report their loss associated with this fire by the end of the day on, July 11, 2016. Note: they must then return a signed and completed statement of loss within 10 days of reporting the food loss.
Process for Applying
To receive replacement benefits:
- CalFresh Households must report the loss of food by phone, in person, or in writing to DHS within 10 days of the loss by contacting the DHS Lake Isabella office at (760) 549-2006 or Customer Assistance Telecenter (CAT) at 877-410-8812. We estimate that for most households, the loss would have occurred no later than June 30, 2016; therefore, they should apply no later than close of business, Monday, July 11, 2016.
- Return a signed and completed Replacement Affidavit/Authorization (CF 303) form (attached) to the Lake Isabella DHS office, located at 7050 Lake Isabella Blvd, Suite 130, Lake Isabella, within 10 days of reporting the loss. Note: If the tenth day falls on a weekend or holiday, and the form is received the next business day, DHS will consider the request to be timely.
- Provide verification of the household misfortune.
o Household not residing in the affected communities listed below must provide a verification of the household misfortune by a third party. Examples of third parties who can provide verification include the Red Cross, utility company, fire department or by a person outside of the household.
Cities and Towns Approved for Mass CalFresh Benefit Replacement
- Wofford Heights and towns in Zip Code 93285
- Lake Isabella and towns in Zip Code 93240
- Weldon and towns in Zip Code 93283
- Onyx and towns in Zip Code 93255
- Bodfish and towns in Zip Code 93205
- Kernville and towns in Zip Code 93238
-courtesy Department of Human Services