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Blog Archive for December 2014

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Press Release

Contact: Kim Haberlin 617-470-9686
Jason Lefferts 617-869-4894
Claire Cooper 617-921-6870


The following news story came over the wire late Thursday:  The story reports on families from Merrimack Valley struggling to get benefits and includes a statement from SEIU regarding the woefully understaffed offices.
1. DTA Online Guide

In the past, DTA updated policy and practices with DTA staff through issuing DTA Operations Memos. As of the end of October, DTA stopped releasing DTA Operations Memos and began updating policy internally through the DTA Online Guide.  
MLRI has obtained a copy of the Online Guide. It is posted on Mass Legal Services here: /content/dta-online-guide 
December 23, 2014 is the deadline for people with insurance ending December 31, 2014 & the uninsured to obtain insurance starting Jan. 1, 2015 through the Health Insurance Connector. 
(People on Commonwealth Care and Temporary MassHealth or Temporary Health Safety Net are not affected by the Dec 23 deadline -- they will have until mid-January or later to re-apply and re-enroll.)

We are writing to ask you to reach out to low income veterans whose SNAP benefits may have been reduced or terminated because DTA incorrectly counted VA Pension monies the veteran does not receive. In addition to a host of troubling DTA "data matches" (matches involving non-countable Work Study, SCSEP income, earnings of a minor in school), veterans advocates are very concerned about DTA’s handling of VA Pension income in the SNAP program.

What is VA Pension and who receives it? 

The most recent USDA data available shows a HUGE 7.3% drop in the Massachusetts participation - between September 2013 and Sept 2014:
Today's Boston Globe features four letters to the editor from two national organizations, FRAC and CBPP; Medford SNAP recipient Diane Sullivan, Pediatrician Tamara Baer of Boston Medical Center and Brookline resident Margaret Rhodes. See links below.

This week the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education and Health and Human Services, issued a Tri-Agency letter outlining the categorical eligibility of children and youth in foster care for free school meals, authorized under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The letter also addresses other issues including meals for other children in the household and transferring free meal eligibility when a foster child or youth moves between school districts.