Because of Hurricane Isaac, people on what used to be the food stamp program may use their cards to buy ready-to-eat hot foods during September.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services says it got a federal waiver because many people had to evacuate and continuing power outages keep others from cooking.
The waiver applies to nearly 389,000 households on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and any approved during the coming week for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Normally, federal regulations forbid using "SNAP" cards to buy hot food products prepared for immediate consumption.
FNS also has told retailers about the waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.