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Coalition meeting tomorrow 3/23; SNAP Gap Interactive Map, College Students, Senior Work Off Abatements & More!

Reminder, we have our regular 4th Tuesday SNAP Coalition meeting tomorrow, March 23rd, from 10 to 11:30 AM.  

The Agenda will include updates on P-EBT for 0-5 year olds, the 15% boost in P-EBT for kids in eligible hybrid or remote learning models, brief updates on federal and state anti-hunger legislation and more!  Here is the Zoom Link: 

Updated SNAP Gap Map by Zip and by Every Senate and House District!

Thanks to Dale West of the Food Bank of Western MA, we are pleased to share with you the updated SNAP Gap Map for 2021, available HERE.

Using both the December 2020 Zip code and demographic data that DTA provided MLRI in January, coupled with DTA’s December 2020 SNAP Zip Code Report, this Tableau Map gives you the specific district SNAP Gap data for all 160 House and 40 Senate districts. The data also includes a breakdown in each district of the SNAP Gap by age groupings (kids 0-5, 5-18, adults 19-65 and 65+).

 You can use this SNAP Gap Map for both your SNAP outreach and to urge your State Senator and State Rep to sign onto HD. 1500 and SD 1015  An Act to streamline access to critical public health and safety-net programs through common applications.  

Here’s the key features of our updated SNAP Gap Map:

·         Get the exact SNAP GAP zip code data for your State Rep or State Senator using their last name (go to “All Districts” tab on left and search alphabetically by last name – so click the A-Z arrow next to district legislators to scroll and sort from first name alphabetization to last name)

·         View or download and print or save a PDF of the Member's District!  See sample PDFs Senator DiDomenico’s district attached. 

·         Search by the House District or Senate District name, such as 8th Suffolk or 3rd Essex

·         Search alphabetically by city or town - you can also click on the map to select a zip code

·         Send an email to your Rep or Senator from the SNAP Gap Map (see script, which you can personalize- direct link here)

·         Call your Rep or Senator to urge their support for the HD.1500 and SD 1015 (see script you can personalize- direct link here).

A HUGE Thanks to Dale West for updating this fantastic tool! 

Update on SNAP and College students – US DOE Guidance:

On Friday, March 19th, the US Department of Education (US DOE) issued a media advisory regarding use of COVID Relief Funds under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), as well as SNAP outreach. 

·         US DOE announced that the HEERF Funds can be used to support students with “exceptional needs” exacerbated by COVID – including to  discharge student debt and provide support services ( for needs since March 13, 2020, the onset of the national emergency).  

·         US DOE also called on higher education institutions to engage in “direct outreach to students” to help enroll them in SNAP benefits.   

·         The US DOE media advisory with links to the HEERF interpretation, Q&A and SNAP resources can be found HERE.

Organizational endorsement for federal SNAP student legislation:  As a reminder, we are working with US Rep Gomez on the EATS Act - which would permanently eliminate the SNAP work for food. If your organization would like to sign onto the EATS Act and be publicly listed as an endorsing organization, please fill out this short form (our apologies, the earlier google form we shared had glitches).

Senior Work Off property tax abatements and impact on SNAP and LIHEAP (Fuel Assistance):   

It has come to our attention that seniors who are eligible to do volunteer work in their city or town to “work off” part of their property taxes (up to $1,500 a year) have hesitated to volunteer because of fear this could impact their SNAP or Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP) benefits.  Some of these municipalities issue W-2s to the senior, even though no money passes hands between the municipality and the senior.  Here’s a description of the Senior Work Off (SWO) abatement from the state Dept of Revenue website.

We are pleased to report that the Dept of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has guidance for local agencies that administer Fuel Assistance confirming that the SWO tax abatement is not countable.  See google doc link to DHCD’s FY21 Administrative Guidance on LIHEAP, pg 71 (last bullet).  MLRI has also requested that DTA not count the SWO abatement either. The State SNAP regulations, 106 CMR 263.230(B) should treat these SWO abatements as either non-countable income similar to other tax refunds, credits and rebates, or as non-countable third party vendor payment.   

Please let MLRI know if you have any seniors who are told by DTA or by Fuel Assistance agencies that their SWO is countable income or that are hesitant to do volunteer work because they think the SWO is countable. MLRI would be happy to work with you to get these cases resolved.  

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