Greetings post Labor Day. Our next Coalition meeting will be Tuesday, September 27 from 10-11:30. Zoom link here. We have some quick updates for you:
Skimming resources - videos with ASL & in English/Spanish on protecting SNAP
We are continuing to monitor the criminal skimming crisis in MA. If you become aware of any MA SNAP households whose EBT benefits have been stolen through skimming, please let Betsy Gwin or Pat Baker of MLRI know. BGwin@mlri.org PBaker@mlri.org
DTA has also posted helpful videos in English and Spanish. Both also include an ASL interpreter. The videos are on DTA’s YouTube channel, and are posted on Mass.gov/ProtectYourEBT in English and Mass.gov/ProtejaSuEBT en Español. Overall, DTA is undertaking a huge “all hands on deck” strategy to advise households to protect their benefits by re-pinning their EBT cards - through text messages, direct household calls, client info on DTAConnect and opening key DTA local offices in impacted areas on Saturdays. We truly appreciate all of their effort to protect SNAP and cash households!
Increased mileage rate for SNAP calcs
Did you know? Households can boost their regular SNAP benefits by claiming travel for child/adult dependent care, and dependent care costs can be self-declared! Households with members age 60+ or disabled can also boost their regular SNAP by claiming travel costs to healthcare providers, including pharmacies. Healthcare costs can also be self-declared to trigger the standard medical deduction (stay tuned for updated materials on the medical self-dec policy). And mileage costs for healthcare needs can be self-declared in all cases.
DTA calculates the cost of using a private car based on the miles traveled times the federal mileage rate. DTA updated all DTA staff that as of mid-August, the new federal mileage rate of 62.5 cents per mile will be used when calculating transportation costs.
Upcoming 2022/23 Basic Benefits Training Series:
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) and Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (MCLE) present a series of trainings every year for legal, social, health services, and community advocates who assist low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
Each session includes substantive materials and is led by expert advocates from legal services programs throughout the state.The 2022-2023 series covers 13 different topics, including SNAP, SSI, Unemployment, Benefits for Immigrants, Tenants Rights, and more.
The first session, “Assisting Families with Homelessness” starts October 4th and the SNAP Advocacy 101 is January 26th, with many in between and after that! See the full list of sessions here: https://www.mcle.org/main/MLRI
Sessions this year will be offered in person at MCLE (Downtown Crossing, Boston) and also by live and recorded webcast.
Tuition is $35 for Legal Services Staff, Social Services/Health Services/Community and Non-Lawyer Advocates.
Registration is handled by MCLE (not MLRI), and must be done through the MCLE website, www.mcle.org