Closing the "SNAP Gap" and Moving Toward a Common App! 2022 Updates!

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MLRI

What is the MA SNAP Gap?

The SNAP Gap is the difference between the number of low-income Massachusetts residents receiving MassHealth who are likely SNAP eligible and the number of people actually receiving SNAP. In Massachusetts, the size of this gap is approximately 700,000 MA residents. For many years the state administered food assistance and health programs separately. The application process and collection of duplicate documents creates more work for the state and for low-income households. Many states in the nation implement a single eligibility system and technology exists to change this! 

The SNAP Gap is Finally CLOSING!

In July of 2021, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) put a simplified SNAP application checkbox on the paper MassHealth and Medicare Savings Program (MSP) applications. Roughly 3,000 SNAP checkbox applications were filed between July 2021 and January 2022 through this paper process.  

In July of 2022, EOHHS added a checkbox in the online MassHealth Connector application, allowing healthcare applicants to apply for SNAP at the same time! Thousand more MA households use the MassHealth Connector.  This means any MA resident who applies for or renews their subsidized healthcare can now apply for SNAP through a simple SNAP checkbox question. If the person completes their MassHealth application and checks the SNAP box, this triggers a legally filed SNAP application. It locks in the SNAP application date, the SNAP application is shipped to DTA for processing and DTA will follow up with a phone call for an interview and to ask for missing information. If approved, SNAP benefits are retroactive to the date of the application. No delays, no lost benefits! 

Roughly 4,000-5,000 SNAP applications per month via MassHealth's "SNAP Checkbox" application are now flowing to DTA for processing.  See DTA's monthly Performance Scorecards HERE - page 6 (top chart) re source of SNAP applications.

Below you will find:

  • EOHHS' guidance advising healthcare assisters of the new online SNAP application checkbox,
  • What Happens Next? FAQ for consumer,  
  • Talking Points/Myth Busting FAQ for community groups.
  • A screen shot of the SNAP question on the paper MassHealth and MSP applications  

Interactive SNAP Gap Map updated in March 2021 - Click HERE

This 2021 map identifies the number of individual MassHealth recipients in MA with gross income under 150% FPL - individuals likely eligible for but not receiving SNAP food benefits. (The DTA data from December 2020). Due to the FY21 and FY22 budget updates (see below), the SNAP Gap Map has not been updated but may be useful for reference. The DTA data is broken down by zip code, city or town and House and Senate Legislators District. Check out the SNAP Gap interactive map!  . 

VICTORY on the SNAP Gap and Common App Campaigns!  

On August 10, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed Chapter 174 of the Acts of 2022 - amending state law to mandate the state create a Common Application for SNAP and DTA cash assistance, healthcare, childcare, fuel assistance, housing and other state-administered needs based benefits. This legislation was spearheaded by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Jay Livingstone, who have worked tirelessly to achieve this victory.  Senator DiDomenico and Rep Livingstone also secured FY21 and FY22 State Budget language that mandated the Baker Administration allow MassHealth and MSP households apply for SNAP at the same time. We now have concrete policies in place. Robust implementation of the Common App is the next big mountain to climb. A DEEP thanks to our Legislative CHAMPIONS Senator DiDomenico and Rep Livingstone for their many years of advocacy!

For more information on the Common Apps Coalition and future campaigns: contact Pat Baker at MLRI, PBaker@mlri.org or Rebekah Gewirtz, NASW- MA at rgewirtz.naswma@socialworkers.org  ‚Äč