ARRA Benefits Cuts in November 2013 - Resources for SNAP Recipients and Advocates
Starting November 1st, SNAP benefits will decrease for almost all SNAP recipients in the nation. This is a result of the end of the cost of living boost in SNAP benefits from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The video below, produced by MLRI, explains the cut, ways to increase SNAP benefits and other food resources.
CLICK HERE to watch the video in Spanish.
Below is a chart prepared by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities showing the new amount of the monthly SNAP cut by household size (for households of 1-4 persons) and reduction in the minimum SNAP benefit.
DTA will be sending out notices to all SNAP recipients in the next few days. The DTA notice will inform each SNAP household about the exact amount of their monthly SNAP benefit starting in November. The DTA notice will also tell SNAP households they may be able to increase their SNAP benefits if they report out-of-pocket costs for child/adult care or if they are elderly or disabled and verify out-of-pocket medical expenses. If a SNAP household is receiving less than the maximum SNAP monthly benefit for their household size, be sure to screen the household for all possible income deductions to boost their SNAP benefits. A sample notice is available below and included in DTA's Operations Memo 2013-54.
Massachusetts issues SNAP benefits on a “staggered basis” - between the 1st and 15th of each month - based on the last digit of the head of household’s SSN. That means Massachusetts SNAP recipients should start receiving DTA notices late October through the first two weeks of November – a day or two before the new SNAP benefit is deposited on their EBT card. Recipients can also get the current EBT balance information by calling the toll-free number on the back of their EBT card.
RESOURCES YOU CAN USE:
DTA has produced posters and recipient fliers on the ARRA cut in multiple languages, and FAQs for agencies and case managers. Note, DTA’s website also includes a handy excel calculator on how to figure out the amount of benefits as a result of the ARRA cut. DTA issued guidance on 10/17/13 to SNAP case workers, Field Operations Memo 2013-54 which includes information on the ARRA decrease, sample notices and a new Hotline number that is operational October 30th.
Included on this web page (the documents below) are two MLRI Q&A fliers in English and Spanish that answer basic questions about the ARRA cut and include tips for maximizing SNAP benefits. MLRI will be updating its SNAP calculators soon.
Here’s links to help your SNAP clients determine if they qualify for additional deductions, or get other resources:
- Child care/ adult dependent care deduction: Information and sample forms to help SNAP recipients claim out-of-pocket child care and adult care expenses.
- Medical expense deduction: Information and a screening form to help elder and disabled SNAP recipients identify and verify out-of-pocket medical related expenses.
- Project Bread FoodSource Hotline for recipient information on the ARRA cut, screening for available deductions, SNAP application assistance and referrals to food pantries.
Dependent care and medical expenses are often the most under-claimed deductions for SNAP recipients. However, be sure to also check the SNAP math for the correct shelter costs and ask if anyone in the SNAP household pays child support (to a child outside the home). Homeless households qualify for a special deduction. For SNAP households that receive rental income from a tenant, only the net rental income after a portion of home ownership costs counts as income for SNAP. If the household gets self-employment income, only net income above business expenses (pre-tax) counts. For information on countable income and the SNAP math, see Part III of MLRI's 2013 Food Stamp/SNAP Advocacy Guide.
And here’s important information from sister anti-hunger organizations about SNAP and the ARRA cut:
- Feeding America webpage on ARRA cut and state food bank resources.
- Food Research Action Center webpage on ARRA and state advocacy information
- Center for Budget and Policy Priorities information on ARRA cut.
|Nov 1 ARRA SNAP cuts flyer - English.pdf||200.78 KB|
|Nov 1 ARRA SNAP Cuts Flyer -Spanish.pdf||88.7 KB|
|SNAP ARRA Decrease DTA NOTICES - November 2013.pdf||105.05 KB|