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American Rescue Plan SIGNED! + SNAP gap data, college student into & more

Lots of info below as we head into the weekend. We are all reflecting this week on the challenges and losses of the past 12 months. It has been a year of extreme difficulties, sadness, frustration, and economic strife for so many. We are deeply appreciative of your work and we have hope for the year ahead - We are especially hopeful today because the American Rescue Plan was JUST signed by President Biden!!!
 
The American Rescue Plan - overview and thank our delegation!
 
This afternoon, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan. This package is one of the largest federal aid packages since the Great Depression - and has significant provisions that inject support and funds to low income communities across the country. In addition to the critical SNAP, P-EBT, and WIC pieces, some of the other critical elements for low-income families include:
  • Expanded and extended unemployment benefits;
  • Expansions in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit;
  • Expansions in health coverage;
  • Increased housing assistance;
  • Fiscal aid for states, territories, tribes, and localities;
  • Funding for K-12 schools; and
  • Emergency funds to help families facing hardship.
This package - if combined with additional legislation that continues changes past 2021 - has the potential to re-shape inequities and poverty in the United States. We are very excited to work with the Coalition to document the improvements this package will bring to our communities, and work with our Delegation to ensure positive changes are kept beyond 2021!
 
For a comprehensive overview, we recommend this post from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Also, attached is MLRI's press release.  
 
Please thank our Congressional delegation for their work on this critical legislation! Tweet, call, email - let our Senators and Representatives know how much of an impact the American Rescue Plan will have in Massachusetts! 
 
SNAP gap data from January 2021 by zip code
 
Click here to view SNAP gap data by city/town and broken down by age group. This data is from DTA and is an accurate comparison of the SNAP caseload to the MassHealth caseload as of January 2021. Please use this data to inform your outreach, and when asking legislators to co-sponsor the Common App legislation - HD. 1500 and SD 1015 "An Act to streamline access
to critical public health and safety-net programs through common applications." Let Vicky or Pat know if you have questions or want to join the SNAP Gap Coalition!
 
College Students and SNAP - Residency clarification from USDA 
 
We have gotten questions, in light of the expanded college student eligiblity rules, about where students should apply if they attend school in a state other than the one where their family lives. The  Department of Agriculture (USDA) clarified to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) that students should apply for SNAP in the state in which they are currently living and attending school. Click here to view NASFAA guidance. 
 
Also, check out this article from the American Association of Community Colleges on the expanded SNAP rules for students, covering a webinar that Pat participated in with the national Center for Law and Social Policy- and mentioning the MA Hunger Free Campus campaign!
 
DTA SNAP Path to Work Program - Powerpoint slides
 
Attached is the information shared by DTA's Miriam Kaufmann at Tuesday's SNAP Coalition meeting. Slide 16 has contact information for key staff at DTA's SNAP Path to Work unit, if you have questions about connecting SNAP recipients or getting your organization involved. 
 
USDA extends universal free school meals waiver through September 30,2021!
 
On Tuesday, USDA announced the extension of key child nutrition nationwide waivers. Among other things, this means all MA families can continue to access grab and go meals. For more information, see FRAC's eblast below! 

USDA Extends Nationwide Waivers Through September 30th  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the extension of critical child nutrition nationwide waivers through September 30, 2021. This extension will ensure schools, local government agencies, and private nonprofit organizations have the time, consistency, and flexibility necessary to reach children who need access to free meals through the summer months. 

FRAC will share more information as updates — including the waiver memos — are available.  

The following nationwide waivers have been extended.  

  • Area Eligibility, which allows meals to be provided in areas that don’t meet the 50 percent area eligibility;  

  • Non-Congregate Feeding, which allows meals to be served outside of group settings (meals can be distributed at a site where families pick up the meals, as well as be delivered to children’s homes);  

  • Meal Service Times, which provide flexibility to the meal service time requirements by allowing service outside of standard meal times; and  

  • Parents and Guardians to Pick Up Meals for Children, which allows a parent or guardian to pick up meals to take home to children.  

FRAC applauds USDA for its leadership. The waiver extension will help to ensure the growing number of children at risk of hunger can get the nutrition they need this summer. 

Read FRAC’s full statement on the waiver extension here

 

 

About Us

FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Visit our website to learn more.

Contact Us

Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200
nsmall@frac.org