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FoodSNAP's Blog

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

At Tuesday's Food SNAP Coalition meeting we discussed the growing problem of DTA delays in processing SNAP recertifications. Please let us know ASAP if you have any clients who receive a “blue letter” from DTA instead of SNAP benefits even though the household sent in a SNAP recertification form before the end of their certification period. Please also let us know about any clients who may not have received a "blue letter" but discover no benefits on their EBT card, even though they timley sent in a SNAP recert form.

The NEXT Coalition meeting is Tuesday, March 29th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House. We will be joined at the meeting by the newly appointed FNS New England Regional SNAP Director, Bonnie Brathwaite. Bonnie has been the SNAP Deputy Director at NERO for three years before this appointment, and has worked on a range of USDA anti-hunger programs over the years. It will be terrific to have her join in the discussion and hear from Coalition members.

A preliminary Coalition agenda includes:

With all that is going on locally, statewide, nationally - it is hard to keep track of the information on FS/SNAP and anti-hunger programs. Next week, many members of Congress will be back in their districts for Congressional Recess - and hopefully available to meet with constituents about top priorities for programs to protect as they move forward through a difficult year.

1. FS SNAP Recertification Delays: DTA issued guidance that effective March 1st BEACON will automatically close Food Stamp/SNAP cases due for recertification that DTA cannot process on time - even if the household submitted its recertification form on time and did everything else it was requested to do. Here’s the DTA Operations Memo instructing staff on the auto closure policy: http://www.masslegalservices.org/node/35698.

We have posted copies of DTA revised SNAP Brochures and a Senior SNAP insert, both of which are in Spanish and English, on the www.masslegalservices.org website. The SNAP brochures include the new gross income test amounts effective in late January.

In follow up to this AM's Food SNAP Coalition meeting, below and attached is the announcement of the Homelessness Safety Net Lobby Day from the Family Economic Initiative:


PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO YOUR NETWORKS!

Homelessness Safety Net Lobby Day

Wednesday, March 2, from 12-3, State House, Room A-1

Background:

Under Governor Patrick's proposed budget for FY 2012, over 60% of homeless children and their parents with no other safe place to stay would be denied access to emergency shelter through the state's Emergency Assistance (EA) program.

There are TWO fiscal year budgets in the news this week:

NEXT meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition: Tuesday March 1st  from 10 to noon.  This will count for the February Coalition meeting. We scheduled it for March 1st  because next week is school vacation week, presenting a conflict for many Coalition members. The Coalition meeting will be at ABCD, 178 Tremont Street, 3rd Floor in Boston.  The regular March meeting will be the last Tuesday in March - March 29th. An agenda will go out under separate email.

MLRI and Mass Continuing Legal Education are hosting TWO trainings on benefits in March (these are the final trainings in the BBT series):

March 1st (Tuesday) training on Elder Benefit Programs:

To Register: http://www.mcle.org/program-calendar/program-catalog.cfm?product_code=21...

March 22nd (Tuesday) on Immigrant and Benefits:

Yesterday's NY Times included a distressing article about parents falling behind in paying for school lunches, and schools having to act like collections agencies because otherwise they have to cut school budgets elsewhere. Apparently the Framingham school district is sending constables to parents' homes with letters from the school asking for their money !!
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