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EBT Card/DTA Connect updates, EOHHS Public Charge guidance, END to litigation on Trump ABAWD rule

We have a few very positive updates below! The next SNAP Coalition meeting will be the second Tuesday of April- April 13, from 10-11:30. We will be focusing on public charge/ immigrant eligibility and elements of the American Rescue Plan - including Economic Impact Payments and more. 
 
EBT card + DTA Connect updates - application question & EBT card replacement/tracking 
 
DTA shared at SNAP Coalition on Tuesday some very exciting updates:
  • The DTA Connect mobile app and DTAConnect.com now both allow households to request an EBT card. 
  • Once a card is requested, households can see tracking information for the card (based on USPS tracking). DTA workers will also be able to see this in case files. This should better inform households about the timeline for getting a card in the mail. 
  • The DTAConnect.com online applications for SNAP, TAFDC, and EAEDC now all ask applicants if they already have an EBT card, or if they need one. This will help connect more applicants to an EBT card more quickly and efficiently. 
For screen shots of these options and to learn more, view this section of the MLRI COVID-19 google doc.  Please let us know if you are working with families facing barriers or delays in getting an EBT card. 
 
Public Charge guidance updated by EOHHS - please share widely!
 
In light of the tremendously positive news that the Biden Administration has ended the prior administration's public charge rule, the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services has updated their public charge guidance - this guidance is also posted on DTA's webpage. Having revised guidance is very helpful! But, we have a long way to go to ensure that immigrant families feel comfortable and safe getting the food benefits they are eligible for. One of the best things we can do is fight fear with facts - Please share the public charge updates in your communities, and encourage families who appear to be eligible to apply for SNAP. For more on the immigrant eligibility rules for SNAP, see this section of the SNAP Advocacy Guide. 
 
Thank you to the MA Protecting Immigrant Families organizations - including MLRI, Health Care for All, Health Law Advocates, and MIRA - who provided text recommendations to EOHHS for this webpage.  
 
DTA Advisory Board March updates 
 
Attached are the March DTA Advisory Board updates. 
 
USDA press release - end to harmful Trump Admin attempt at changing the ABAWD rules
 
Before the pandemic, there was a successful lawsuit from 15 Attorneys General (including the MA AGO) and New York City opposing regulation changes from the Trump Administration seeking to make the 3 month SNAP time limit for ABAWDs more punitive/strict. The prior administration had appealed that ruling. USDA withdrew that appeal. This was the last outstanding Trump Administration SNAP regulation issue - and it means that those ABAWD rule changes are permanently stopped from being put into place.
 
Below is the press release from USDA - with a powerful statement from Secretary Vilsack. All 3 of the harmful Trump Administration SNAP rules are now GONE. This is VERY positive news - thank you to all the members of this Coalition who wrote comments, engaged stakeholders, talked to legislators, and spent time and energy opposing these horrible attempts at cutting SNAP over the past few years. Public comments matter!! We are also very appreciative of the role that MA Attorney General Maura Healey and her team played in this litigation. 
 
 

USDA News Release

 
 

 

Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on D.C. Circuit Court's Decision Regarding ABAWDs Rule

 

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2021 — Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the D.C. Circuit Court's decision to allow USDA to withdraw its appeal on the previously vacated final rule, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (84 FR 66782).

"We are pleased to finally put to rest a policy that would have restricted the ability of states to provide nutrition assistance to able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) during times of high unemployment. The rule would have penalized individuals who were unable to find consistent income, when many low wage jobs have variable hours, and limited to no sick leave. Groups with typically higher unemployment, including rural Americans, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and People of Color, and those with less than a high school education would have been disproportionally harmed by this cruel policy."

 
ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

Under normal circumstances, adults who are age 18-49, able to work, and do not have dependents are not able to receive SNAP benefits for more than 3 months within a 3 year period unless they are working, enrolled in a work program, or participating in some combination of those two for 80 hours each month. The vacated rule limited states’ ability to request waivers of the time limit to certain restricted conditions. The time limit is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. USDA plans to publish a notice in the Federal Register to confirm its return to long-standing regulations that existed prior to the publishing of this rule.



 USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. 

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