The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Resources for Community Partners Handling SNAP Web Unit Applications

Date: 
11/22/2013
Author: 
MLRI

The following is a list of information and resources for community groups who assist with SNAP applications through the Boston Web Unit. Online applications for clients living in areas covered by the following DTA offices will be handled by the Boston Web Unit: North Shore, Malden, Chelsea, Dudley Square, Newmarket Square (1010 Mass ave), and Brockton. Some of these materials may also be useful for Web applications in Western and Central Mass. 

New Boston Web Application Hotline Number:  

The Boston DTA Web Unit has created a new HOTLINE for applicants to call if they have questions about the status of their SNAP application and/or need to reschedule an interview: 1-617-348-5656  This 617 phone number will appear on the first letter sent to the applicant which starts with: "We have received your application."   

The Web Hotline number will also appear on the DTA notice of interview and the notice of missed interview (NOMI) - in addition to the case manager's (CM) direct line on those notices. SNAP applicants are encouraged to call their CMs directly once a CM is assigned, but can also call the Hotline to leave a message. The recorded greeting is in English and Spanish, but callers can leave a VM in any language. The Web Unit will try to call them back within 2 business days. It's very important to route calls on SNAP applications handed by the Boston Web Unit to the new Web Application Hotline. 

SNAP Web Unit Boston Director and Supervisors:  

Attached is a list with the names and direct phone numbers of the Boston Web Unit Director and Supervisors as well (provided to SNAP Coalition Members and updated as of Nov. 2013). Community partner applications are tracked by supervisor Malikka Philips. As soon as we have contact information for Springfield Web Unit, we will post it. 

SNAP Sworn Statement to Supplement Information Collected in Virtual Gateway Online Application:

The more information provided to the Boston Web Unit after an application is submitted online, the better the chances of on getting SNAP applications processed quickly. This is especially true for eligibility factors that can be self-attested to including:  

  • dependent child or adult care,
  • shelter costs
  • last date of work if 60 or more days ago
  • information on how household is managing expenses (borrowing money from family, running up arrears, etc)

The attached form (in English and Spanish) may be useful since the SNAP web application does not have any fields to collect the information DTA needs to determine expenses, including the amount of income (for expedited) or explaining how expenses exceed income (which causes SNAP staff to ask for more verifications or written sworn statements). If your client is completing this form, be sure all information included is accurate as the client is signing under penalty of perjury. The client could also fill out a paper SNAP application and send that in as a supplement to the SNAP application as well. Note, there is no "correct" or required form, but this helps get the information down. 

SNAP FAX cover sheet and "Next Steps" flier for Web applicants: 
 
Attached are two documents you may find useful if you assist with Web Applications in Boston or Eastern Massachusetts including:
  •  Sample Fax Cover sheet to check off the documents you are sending to the Web Unit with the applicant's name highlighted up top. This may help marry the documents to the case record faster.
  • A "Next Steps" handout (in English and Spanish) to give to SNAP applicants so they know what to expect after filing the Web application, including the new Web Unit SNAP App Hotline number.

Improvements at the Boston Web Unit

From May through September,  MLRI, community partners, DTA Commissioner Stacey Monahan and Web Unit staff met regularly to discuss ongoing issues with SNAP applications processed through the Boston Web Unit. We are happy to share that the approval rate at the Boston Web Unit has increased and that the following improvements have been or are in the process of being implemented:

  • Regular review of cases denied based on missing verifications to ensure the Web Unit has not already received the verifications
  • “Spot checking” verification checklists (VC-1s) to check for excessive/unnecessary requests for verifications
  • Training for staff on immigrant eligibility, verification policy and protocols, etc.
  • Interview notices edited to include a specific hour and shorter time frame for interview appointment
  • The creation of the Web Unit hotline for clients who have missed their interview or have questions about their case
  • Training and correction of “blend” notices with mix of English and Spanish
  • Staff instructed to immediately request EBT card from Central Print when identity verified and when Web Unit contacts client for screening/interview (normally within 2 business days)

 


Limit Offer