We've heard from a number of community organizations that one of the biggest barriers in assisting low income individuals keep or regain their SNAP benefits through employment or community service is past criminal history. This was evident in a number of the appeal decisions MLRI reviewed, as well as in stories from community organizations who report that the individual's "criminal offender record information" (CORI) is surfacing as a significant barrier in doing complying with the work rules.
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In January, EOHHS announced plans to implement a Managed Care lock-in policy effective October 1, 2016. This would restrict the ability of MassHealth members to freely change managed care plans. Despite opposition from most consumer, legal aid and disability rights groups, EOHHS is moving full speed ahead to implement this change.
Proposed rules are posted on the MassHealth website with a publication date of July 20, 2016. A public hearing is scheduled for Wed. August 10 at 10 am in Boston. Written comments are also due by 5 pm August 10.
We received this email last night from DTA Commissioner McCue. We've also received emails and calls from folks earlier in the week re same problem, which we reported to DTA Central.
Community organizations are reporting:
Veto override may be taken up today. Please call your State Representative and Speaker DeLeo. Ask them to take up the override of the Governor's veto and protect families with disabled members.
See Boston Herald article: Advocates rip cuts in disability funding
MLRI recently received from the Division of Hearings a batch of redacted appeal decisions involving the ABAWDs terminated from SNAP benefits. (The federal SNAP regulations, 7 CFR 273.15 (q)(5) requires states to keep a public docket of appeal decisions, as do the DTA Division of Hearings regulations at 106 CMR 343.130.) ABAWD = Able Bodied without Dependent. For more on the 3 month time limit, go here: http://www.masslegalservices.org/ABAWD
The following information is based on an alert from MLRI's benefits attorney, Deborah Harris:
Just before 5 PM on Friday afternoon,7/8/16, the Governor issued his vetoes of parts of the FY 17 budget.
FY2017 Budget and SNAP Gap, MEFAP and more:
The House and Senate finished up business on the FY2017 Conference Budget last night, passing a $39.1B budget with "nips and tucks" in many agencies. See today's Boston Globe article. The budget now goes to the Governor for his signature and/or vetoes.
Last night the conference committee report on the state fy 17 budget was announced. We had been monitoring the committee on the issue of the Health Safety Net cuts. The Senate had placed a moratorium on the cuts until the Spring of next year, while the House planned to study the cuts. Both the moratorium and the study were held in conference by the conferees, which essentially means they are dead.
This is a reminder of the June SNAP Coalition meeting, tomorrow, June 28th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House in Boston (39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor). If you have items to add to the agenda, please let me or Vicky Negus know.
Tomorrow's SNAP Coalition AGENDA will include:
There are over dozens of Massachusetts schools with high numbers of low income kids that could give FREE breakfast and FREE lunch to ALL students in the school - 100% free school meals - and without the administrative headaches of collecting school meals applications or $.40 for each "reduced-price" meal for kids btwn 130-185% FPL.Â Known as Community Eligibility Provision(CEP), schools could receive substantially MORE in federal NSLP dollars than they are getting right now.