Before we get into the below updates, we wanted to share some powerful quotes from our anti-hunger champion, Rep. McGovern, on Congress using an early end to the extra COVID SNAP benefits (Emergency Allotments) to offset the cost of Summer EBT in a recent NBC article:
“Ending the emergency SNAP allotment is bad, and it’s a lousy thing to do to poor people in this country when inflation is still a reality and food prices are high. The SNAP benefit, even with the emergency allotment, quite frankly, isn’t adequate”….”If this was the defense budget, no one ever has to decide between, you know, two missile systems,” he said. “They just build them both.”
We wholeheartedly agree. We want to thank you all for what you are doing in your communities to make sure families get the information they need to maximize SNAP and to connect to other resources.
MLRI training powerpoint on maximizing SNAP with deductions
Thanks to the 200+ folks that registered and attended MLRI’s SNAP training yesterday on the end to the extra COVID SNAP and how to maximize SNAP through deductions. For a copy of the slide deck, click here. For DTA's information about the end to the Emergency Allotments, visit Mass.gov/ExtraCOVIDSNAP
Critical action item - support needed for Guv Healey’s FY23 supplemental budget!
Governor Healey filed a FY23 “Supplemental Budget” on January 30th asking the MA Legislature to provide additional funding for critical food and shelter programs including:
$130 million for 3 months of extra state-funded SNAP (this would be 40% of the federal extra COVID SNAP payments, which will end on March 2)
$2 million to replace SNAP benefits stolen through skimming before federal protection kick in October 1, 2022; and
$65 million to ensure universal school meals for the remainder of the school year.
ACTION STEPS: We need the MA House and Senate to pass this quickly so DTA can start getting these SNAP dollars out!
Please contact your Legislators to urge them to ask Leadership to pass this budget.
Please also continue sharing stories in this form. We are using these stories to push the state legislature to move quickly, and to advocate in the future against cuts to SNAP on a federal level.
Here’s MLRI’s 1/31/23 press release. We encourage your orgs to do a statement supporting the supp budget.
Reminder on protecting SNAP from scammers
Please continue to advise SNAP applicants and households to be vigilant and to never provide personal information, EBT card number, or Personal Identification Number (PIN) to unidentified callers, or to a link provided via text or email.
Also, households should re-PIN their cards regularly to help protect against skimming. Re-PINing right after every purchase is the strongest way to protect SNAP from skimming. RePINing before SNAP goes on the card each month also helps a great deal, and is more feasible to consistently remember to do for many low-income families.
For more information and resources, see Mass.gov/ProtectYourEBT
Please also continue sharing with MLRI examples of families whose SNAP was stolen by skimming. DTA has not yet stood up a process for replacement (USDA shared guidance with states about replacement last week). We are happy to talk to families to advise about next steps. Email email@example.com.
Updated SNAP Calculators, At-a Glance charts & Mythbusting flier
We’ve posted the 3 SNAP calculators here with updated numbers for the Feb. 1st increase to the 200% Federal Poverty Level. This page includes a 1 page paper worksheet, an online SNAP calculator, and an excel calculator.
We’ve updated the SNAP “At-a-glance” charts to help you get a sense of how SNAP benefits change if income goes up or if households claim certain deductions. Thanks to MLRI’s AmeriCorps member Katie Kelly for tackling the SNAP math!.
We also updated our 2 page mythbusting flier: “How to talk about SNAP: Messaging/information for households reluctant to apply.”
National Consumer Law Center free Utility Consumer Rights Court - February 22nd
On February 22nd from 1:00 - 2:30 PM NCLC will be offering a free Utility Consumer Rights Course. In this course, participants will learn about the eligibility requirements in Massachusetts for utility discounts, how to prevent service from being shut off, and how to restore service if it has been terminated. The training will be held over zoom. Registration is required. All are welcome and encouraged to join. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.