You have until midnight TONIGHT to submit your comments to USDA in opposition to the proposed SNAP regulations that will cut $100M/year from Massachusetts SNAP recipients by lowering the amount of utility expenses households can claim. If you have not had time to think through this, don’t worry, the comments can be very brief. You can register your opposition to reducing SNAP benefits and share a story about how this would be harmful. File your comments directly through Regulations.gov HERE.
SNAP Coalition December 3rd AGENDA:
This is the LAST Coalition meeting for 2019. The draft agenda includes:
· Federal updates from FRAC on SNAP including: the status of USDA’s proposed ABAWD regulations; status of “government shutdown”; debrief on SNAP SUA comments
· State Legislation- Breakfast after Bell (YAY!); SNAP Gap, HIP, School Meal Debt
· SNAP Coalition’s priorities - for FY21 state budget and 2020 SNAP policies (first discussion)
· Brief update on MA Hunger Free Campus campaign & January briefing
· DTA SNAP policy updates and anticipated changes in 2020
· “Zombie” SNAP or cash overpayments - are your MA clients hearing from debt collectors (for ex Premier Debt Collection)?
· US Census jobs and 2020 Census outreach – See US Census Fact Sheets
· Upcoming events/announcements
College Students and Food Insecurity:
First, the Mass Dept of Higher Education Office of Financial Assistance started sending notifications (in batches during November) to public college students who qualify for Mass Grant financial aid. The DHE notice tells them know they may qualify for SNAP based on their receipt of Mass Grant. This is a special rule for Massachusetts students. Attached is a sample of the DHE notification to students (the SNAP amounts are off by a few dollars bc the letter was drafted before the 10/1/19 increases). If you have college students who receive other forms of financial aid (such as the Cash Grant, Gilbert Grant), but are not SNAP eligible, please let MLRI know.
Second, MLRI and MA Food Banks are gearing up for a January 30th 2019 Legislative Briefing on college student hunger, more details to follow. If you are interested in learning more about the Hunger Free Campus Coalition, contact MLRI. See also NBC news story 12/1/19 re growing hunger on college campuses https://www.nbcnews.com/news/
December 12th Basic Benefits training on TAFDC Cash Assistance at Mass Continuing Legal Education in Boston. This is an invaluable nuts and bolts training for anyone working with families with children. TAFDC is Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children, the state’s core cash benefit for low income families and pregnant women. Here is an alert from MCLE with a link to register: https://www.mcle.org/Email/fy20/112219/2200081P01.html?emcampaignID=20581&emuserID=52965&utm_source=Program_Alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2200081P01&utm_content=20581
Central MA SNAP Coalition meeting is this Thursday, December 5th in Worcester (at Central MA Justice Center, 405 Main Street, Worcester).