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Coalition AGENDA for June 25th meeting, College Student Hunger, Veterans Services Benefits calculator !

Looking forward to seeing on at next week's Boston SNAP Coalition meeting on Tuesday, June 25th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House in Boston (39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor).  Below is the agenda and some additional items regarding veterans benefits and college students to share with you.

Boston SNAP Coalition Meeting – June 25t AGENDA:

  • Federal updates - Ag Com Oversight hearing on "Cat El" issue, status of anticipated fed rules changes; pending federal legislation on SNAP and "meal shaming" - Ellen Vollinger, FRAC 
  • Update on State FY20 budget in Conference Committee re SNAP Gap, HIP, etc.  
  • State Legislation: Brief update on Breakfast after Bell, SNAP Gap, School Meal Debt, HIP.  See also FRAC LTE in last night’s Boston Globe re school meal debt legislation
  • College student hunger: pending state legislation to address college student hunger
  • IRs and Recerts: Follow up on DTA Presentation in May on revised Interim Report and Recertification forms and DTAConnect.com – e.g. how’s it going for your clients? 
  • Reminder on TAFDC family cap and screening SNAP families who may be eligible for TAFDC cash assistance.  
  • Veterans benefits – DTA’s SNAP outreach to veterans and  just released Veterans’ Services Benefits calculator (see below)  
  • Gig economy clients and SNAP:  Tell us what your clients are seeing if they work for Lyft, Uber, Task Rabbit or other companies - what SNAP verification or reporting issues r u seeing?
  • Maximizing medical expense deduction:  Brainstorming discussion on best ways to help elder/disabled clients flag and verify their medical expenses to boost SNAP.
  • SNAP overpayments -  Check in re clients told they were overpaid SNAP and strategies for handling cases. 
  • Other issues and announcements

College Student Hunger:   If you are interested in learning about pending state legislation to address food insecurity on college campuses, please contact  MLRI. Committee on Higher Education will be hearing testimony on July 24th on a couple of bills involving college student hunger and financial aid.  The Jt Committee welcomes testimony and input from organizations that work with low income college students (both 2 and 4 year, public and private college students) on ways to improve those bills.  For more info, PBaker@mlri.org  Please also let us know if you are seeing college students having trouble qualifying for SNAP.

Veterans Services Benefits Screening Tool:   Veterans Services “Chapter 115” is one of the most underutilized needs-based programs in the Commonwealth. Thanks to our colleagues at the Veterans Legal Clinic of Harvard Law School, below is a link to an easy to use “calculator” for veterans and dependents to screen for Chapter 115 benefits.  These important cash and medical benefits - administered by local cities and towns with 75% state reimbursement - are for veterans and their dependents (spouses, widows/ers, children) who are low income. The veteran must have served a certain number of days, have an honorable (or other than dishonorable) discharge and meet certain income and asset criteria.  Veterans Services Chapter 115 benefits are NOT the same as federal Veterans Administration pension and compensation benefits. Indeed, veterans who receive federal benefits may be able to receive a Chapter 115 supplement depending on income.  Every city and town in Massachusetts has a Veterans Services Officer (VSO) whose job it is to take applications and administer these benefits. 

Please screen your clients for Chapter 115 benefits.  

See you on Tuesday the 25th !