RE: Federal Budget Anti-Hunger Update
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Massachusetts is expected to lose over $2 billion in federal food stamp/SNAP benefits during the next 10 fiscal years if proposals before Congress to "block grant" the SNAP program prevail. Currently more than 800,000 Massachusetts residents (children, seniors, parents, persons with disabilities) receive SNAP benefits, comprising 440,000 SNAP households. The value of SNAP benefits received in Massachusetts exceeds $100M per month – more than $1.2B a year.
The following are two food stamp/SNAP policy updates:
State Budget update: At the last Food SNAP Coalition, members we briefed on federal and state budget issues. On the good news front, state FY2012 budget amendments that would have imposed onerous verification requirements on U.S. citizen and immigrant households were defeated in last week's House floor debate, as were two other anti-immigrant amendments.
Erroneous SNAP COLA Reduction Notices: We have heard from a couple of SNAP households that the amount of their SUA reductions is woefully incorrect. Please let us know if you see any SNAP recipients who received DTA notices telling their SNAP benefits would be reduced by more than $11 due to the federal cost of living (COLA) change in the standard utility allowance (SUA). Attached below is a redacted sample notice we received from one SNAP recipient advising her that her SNAP benefits would go from $200/month to $52/month.
We understand folks are busy on many levels with the state budget, fundraising activities, etc. We wanted to update you on one of the items in tomorrow's Coalition meeting agenda re when a SNAP household must provide verification to DTA of "questionable information."
The following email is from MLRI's AmeriCorps Fellow, Kelly Love:
The next meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition is Tuesday, April 26th from 10 to noon at St Francis House in Boston (39 Boylston Street, Boston). The agenda will include an update on the state and federal budgets and discussion of recent SNAP policies (SUA, recertifications, immigrant household applications), and future SNAP waivers. An agenda will go out under separate email on Friday.
Meanwhile, we wanted to alert you to a number of important issues:
In a few days, DTA will start sending notices to roughly 130,000 SNAP recipients advising them their SNAP benefits will be reduced in May based on changes in the benefits calculation and cost of living. The maximum reduction will be $11/month, some will get a lower reduction. Please note - this SNAP reduction is NOT related to the federal budget deliberations (but we guarantee that cuts to benefits will be wider and deeper if we cannot stop Congress from block granting SNAP! Make those calls!)
There is a LOT going on this week. Sorry for all the emails. THANK YOU for making those calls !!!
1) Federal budget:
If you had NOT had the chance to make a call to your Congressperson to urge them to vote NO on the federal cuts before them today, NOW is the time ! Capital Switchboard: 1-888-245-0215.
Over 800,000 Massachusetts SNAP recipients may lose benefits, or thousands may lose their SNAP eligibility altogether. We need your calls to members of the Massachusetts House Delegation today!! Please call the Congresspersons who represent where you live and represent the clients where you work. Call the Capital Switchboard at 1-888-245-0215 NOW. The following link gives you a detailed analysis of the impact of the SNAP cut by state: