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FoodSNAP's Blog Archive for February 2012

The latest information on SNAP/ Food Stamp advocacy in Massachusetts.

Below is an alert from our colleagues at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) in Boston about the extension of the utility shut-off moratorium. We will keep you posted as we get more information. Note that persons who receive SNAP, TAFDC, EAEDC, SSI, MassHealth, Fuel Assistance or other needs-based benefits are considered low-income and should be protected by the moratorium.

Below is a WONDERFUL Op Ed by Food SNAP Coalition Member and ED of the Food Bank of Western Mass, Andrew Morehouse. The letter was published on 2/7/2012 in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and a similar article printed on 2/15/2012 in the Greenfield Recorder.

The MLRI-MCLE Basic Benefits Training sessions continues, and what a BARGAIN (thanks to MCLE for offering reduced rates to non-profits and legal services programs)!  

Tuesday, February 28th is a day-long training on Elder Benefit Programs - covering nuts and bolts for seniors to get cash assistance, retirement benefits, food and nutrition services, home-based care services, and health care programs.  The program fee is $25 for the full day training, including materials. To Register, go to:

The next Food SNAP Coalition meeting is this coming Tuesday, February 28th from 10 to 12 at St Francis House in Boston.  The agenda will include an update on the SNAP Web units, the state EBT Commission deliberations, and local SNAP access issues. We will also be will be discussing the federal and state budget deliberations before Congress and the Massachusetts Legislature.


Federal and State Budget Updates

1. Child Health Watch physicians and researchers urge Agriculture Committee to support SNAP funding:

If you have some spare time for some weekend, reading, check out the following New York Times article, "Moochers Against Welfare." The bulk of responses posted thus far are pretty good too. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/opinion/krugman-moochers-against-welfa...  

DTA and the MetroWest Community Provider Forum have organized another event for February 28th (this is identical to the Central Mass provider event happening today in Worcester).  Below is the announcement and RSVP information. DTA has asked me to share this broadly with Coalition members who service clients in the MetroWest area.

NOTE:  The next regularly scheduled Food SNAP Coalition meeting is also Tuesday, Feb 28th, from 10 - 12AM in Boston.  An agenda and more information will follow. 

Pat Baker, MLRI

House and Senate Ways and Means have just announced the schedule of hearings for the FY2013 state budget including the dates and locations for testimony from the various state agencies. The hearings start this Friday, Feb 17th, and continue through Friday, March 9th - which is the last date for public testimony. House and Senate members of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means preside over the hearings with each date focused on a cluster of state agencies and affirmative presentations by those agency heads.  Attached is a list with all the hearing details.  

Below is an email from our friends at the Food Research Action Center, www.frac.org. The President's FY2013 budget projects the core nutrition and safety net benefit programs including restoration of SNAP funding cut in the 2010 Child Nutrition Bill! The President's budget also supports WIC funding, extends the Child Tax Credit and EITC and more. The proposed budget items on nutrition programs is terrific !

DTA Commissioner Curley recently issued a letter inviting more participation in the local advisory Boards.  A number of Coalition members already participate in DTA Local Advisory Boards in Boston, Springfield, Worcester, Revere, North Shore and other area offices around the state. DTA is also in the process of creating advisory boards in Fitchburg, Lawrence, Malden, Plymouth, and Southbridge.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in the federal poverty level on January 26th. https://aspe.hhs.gov/2012-hhs-poverty-guidelines

This COLA directly affects the SNAP 200% gross income test - the income test which applies to families with children, pregnant women and households with an elder/disabled persons. This COLA increase does not affect the other gross or net income tests or benefit amounts.