Looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow on our last “official” SNAP Coalition call of 2020! We have LOTS of updates for you:
SNAP Coalition meeting tomorrow, December 8th. The AGENDA includes:
· Federal Updates/push on a COVID relief package as the govt funding deadline looms on 12/11. See also important Boston Globe Op Eds in today’s Globe including from Catherine D’Amato of GBFB, and Globe reporter Amy MacKinnon, Hunger can Happen to Any of Us Please amplify these stories through social media.
· State Budget Updates including SNAP Gap, HIP, MEFAP, grant increase (see below)
· DTA updates: P-EBT for Oct onward, current EBT card issuance protocols, other DTA updates.
· Discussion on how to support families if Congress does not extend Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – PUA is special unemployment for gig workers and others not eligible for regular UI).
· Checking in public charge & immigrant access to SNAP, WIC and food pantries. See also today’s Boston Globe article, The Food is a Lifeline re the ongoing challenges of reaching and feeding immigrant households in Chelsea.
· Reminder on SNAP misfortune/replacement benefits due to power outages (see below)
Note: This will be the final formally scheduled SNAP Coalition meeting for 2020. However, MLRI will likely host an informal, shorter SNAP Coalition check-in meeting on Tuesday, December 22nd to share any important updates for anyone who wants to log on.
FY21 Budget victories – Please contact Governor Baker to urge support!
We are thrilled to report important victories in the FY21 Conference Report, finalized and voted on last week:
· SNAP Gap – important common app language included in MassHealth’s Line item!
· TAFDC/EAEDC cash grant 10% cost of living adjustment – first COLA in decades!
· HIP funding increased to $13M!
· MEFAP (emergency food) funding increased to $30M
ACTION STEPS: 1) Please THANK the House and Senate Leadership (Senate President Spilka, Speaker DeLeo) and the FY21 Conference Committee members! 2) Please urge Governor Baker to approve all these items as he reviews and signs the budget. The Governor has 10 days from receipt of the budget to approve, amend or veto provisions. He may do this sooner than later, so please take action NOW!
SNAP Household Misfortune Replacement Benefits:
Thousands of New England and MA Households lost power from the recent winterstorm over the weekend, especially Central MA. For households that lost power for 4 hours or more, they may be eligible for SNAP replacement benefits for food lost (or that had to be tossed), due to the lack of power in their homes. Here’s MLRI’s information on SNAP Misfortune replacement benefits, including the DTA forms to fill out for replacement requests.
EBT Online Purchasing in the news.
See today’s CNN news article 12/7/2020: Online grocery shopping is growing, but millions of Americans on food stamps are being left behind, features Lynn resident and Mass Senior Action Member Richard Smitty. Smith is frustrated he can't order for delivery instead of risking exposure to coronavirus when he visits the store. "It's more convenient, and I don't have to depend on anybody," he said.