NEW YORK, November 12, 2008 -- J.P. Morgan today announced that during the past year it assisted California, Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington in providing assistance to victims of natural catastrophes. Disaster Food Stamp Program funds totaling nearly $250 million were distributed to more than 710,000 households via J.P. Morgan's Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.
"EBT and debit cards are an effective payment mechanism during disaster situations as they provide benefit recipients with immediate access to assistance," said Laurie Neill, managing director of Public Sector Solutions, J.P. Morgan. "J.P. Morgan is proud to have helped our state government clients prepare for and react to major emergencies effectively."
In response to hurricanes Gustav and Ike in September 2008, J.P. Morgan's EBT cards were used to assist Louisiana in deploying one of the largest Disaster Food Stamp Program benefit issuances in U.S. history. More than $208 million in emergency benefits were issued to 609,595 households.
DSS Interim Secretary Kristy Nichols said, "In the wake of the two hurricanes, DSS worked with Florida and J.P. Morgan to implement the first-ever technology partnership between states for issuing Disaster Food Stamp Program benefits."
Teams from Louisiana, Florida, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) and J.P. Morgan worked together to develop a system that links the two states, should Louisiana encounter technical issues in future emergency situations.
Indiana suffered two major storms this year. In October, Indiana issued more than $17.6 million through J.P. Morgan EBT cards to approximately 50,000 households after floods hit twenty southeast counties in September. In June, residents in 53 counties across Indiana were impacted by severe storms and flooding. Almost 3,000 households received $3.3 million in Disaster Food Stamp Program benefits.
Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) distributed nearly $11 million in Disaster Food Stamp Program benefits to 23,557 households following flooding and power outages resulting from a series of storms in nine locations, including Omaha. J.P. Morgan has provided EBT cards to Nebraska for its regular Food Stamp Program since 2002.
"The Disaster Food Stamp Program operates under a different set of eligibility and benefit delivery requirements than the regular Food Stamp Program," said Todd Landry, director of the Division of Children and Family Services in Nebraska's DHHS. "People who might not ordinarily qualify for benefits may be eligible under the Disaster Food Stamp Program if they have had disaster damage to their homes, expenses related to protecting their homes, lost income as a result of the disaster, or have no access to bank accounts or other resources."
In December 2007, the Washington Department of Social and Health Services initiated the "Feed Washington Families" Disaster Food Stamp Program to enable victims of the worst floods and windstorms in Southwest Washington's recorded history to buy food. Washington distributed more than $4.6 million in program benefits to 17,000 households using J.P. Morgan's EBT cards. In addition to issuing the cards, J.P. Morgan monitored retailer activity reports and was able to report which retailers were still operating during the disaster. This information enabled the state to tell applicants where they could go to make food purchases.
Last year's wildfires in southern California prompted the largest evacuation in California's history and destroyed at least 1,800 homes. In October 2007, J.P. Morgan assisted California's Department of Social Services distribute emergency relief to citizens in San Bernardino and San Diego counties. Nearly $3.8 million in funds were distributed to more than 8,800 households.
J.P. Morgan is the leading provider of EBT and debit card solutions with more than 70 million benefit and payment transactions each month, across the U.S. and internationally. EBT has eliminated the inefficient paper food stamp process while government payment cards eliminate the costly process of producing and mailing checks and eliminate check fraud. Federal, state, county and municipal agencies can deliver recurring or one-time payments to citizens for disaster relief, child support, unemployment and workers' compensation, payroll, gun buybacks and many other programs and purposes. Recipients can make purchases at millions of merchants and access their funds at ATMs worldwide. More information can be found at www.jpmorgan.com/publicsector.
About J.P. Morgan Treasury Services
The Treasury Services business of J.P. Morgan is a top-ranked, full-service provider of innovative payment, collection, liquidity and investment management, trade finance, commercial card and information solutions to corporations, financial services institutions, middle market companies, small businesses, governments and municipalities worldwide. With more than 50,000 clients and a presence in 39 countries, J.P. Morgan Treasury Services (JPM TS) is the world's largest provider of treasury management services. JPM TS is a division of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., member FDIC. More information can be found at www.jpmorgan.com/ts.
About JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.3 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers, small business and commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management, and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan, Chase, and WaMu brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.