The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

expanded UI benefits, Social Security action, SNAP National Day of Action, etc.

This is a long update - but chock full of important information. 
 
Updates below on expanded UI for self employed/gig workers, important 4/22 deadline for Social Security recipients with kids, tomorrow's SNAP National Day of Action, and a 4/23 housing zoom Q&A.  
 
We will soon be sending more information on the reporting rules for SNAP households who start get UI, and we will follow up with additional info from this morning's Coalition Zoom. A reminder that P-EBT information is posted on our google doc here. 
 
Gig economy workers, self employed workers, and others can now file for unemployment in Mass.
 
The Baker Administration announced yesterday that workers can now file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through DUA at Mass.gov/PUA
 
Many workers who were not eligible under regular UI ARE eligible for PUA. For example:
  • Self-employed individuals, including gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors (eg. uber/lyft drivers)
  • Those seeking part-time employment
  • Those with insufficient work history to qualify for regular UI
All workers who get UI- either through the regular UI program or through PUA - should get $600/week on top of their base UI amount. This $600/week payment will continue until the end of July. 
 
For a guide on UI and to learn more, visit: Masslegalhelp.org/covid-19-unemployment
 
WEDNESDAY 4/22 Deadline for Social Security households to fill out IRS form to quickly get $500/dependent 
 
Yesterday (Monday) the Treasury Department announced that Social Security / Railroad retirement recipients must complete the IRS non-tax filers form by this Wednesday in order to quickly get the $500 they are entitled to per dependent (on top of the $1,200 payment). Those who do not meet the deadline will have wait until early 2021 when the IRS reopens the filing portal for them.  
 
This is a very frustrating decision made by the Administration and will result in delays in getting this money to low-income seniors and persons with disabiliites who are caring for dependents. For a clear explanation of what is going on and who should fill out this form ASAP, see this CBPP tweet. 
 
Please encourage families who have dependents and receive RSDI to fill out the form. Also, please contact your Congressional representatives about how this sudden and unreasonable deadline will deprive very low income people of these benefits at a time when they need them most. Please share this widely. 
 
For more information abut these payments, see: Masslegalhelp.org/covid-19/stimulus-payment
 
Thurs 4/23 Housing and evictions virtual Q and A for community advocates

First, we commend our colleagues and advocates across the state for their hard work in getting an eviction moratorium passed! The moratorium bill was signed by Governor Baker yesterday. This is fantastic news. Click here for MLRI's statement. 
 
Please use this form to register for the Thursday, April 23,  2020 virtual question and answer session for community advocates about evictions and housing rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will be held from 2:00 to 3:30, by zoom.  You will get the zoom log in information once you submit the form.
 
National Day of Action on Wednesday, April 22 to Boost SNAP Benefits in Next COVID-19 Package   
 
See below from FRAC. 

National Day of Action on Wednesday, April 22
to Boost SNAP Benefits in Next COVID-19 Package
 

On Wednesday, April 22, join the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), Feeding America, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Center for American Progress (CAP), and other national allies and advocates across the country in a National Day of Action urging Congress and the Administration to enact SNAP benefit boosts in the next COVID-19 relief package. Recent reports indicate that the next package would include assistance for businesses and healthcare efforts, but not SNAP — we must insist that individuals and families need immediate relief, too. 

Please share with your networks. 

Contact your Senators and Representatives (call, email, tag on social media) and urge them to include SNAP in the next COVID-19 package. Include the White House in your Tweets and outreach.

The next COVID-19 relief bill must include the following SNAP priorities:

1. boost SNAP maximum benefits by 15 percent;
2. increase the minimum SNAP benefit from $16 to $30; and
3. suspend all SNAP administrative rules that would terminate or cut benefits. 

These temporary provisions must continue until the economy improves. The provisions will not only help households put food on the table during this crisis, but will also help to stimulate the economy.

Check out FRAC’s COVID-19 Updates page for more resources on the Day of Action, which will be added leading up to Wednesday.

Get vocal on social: Join FRAC, Feeding America, CBPP, and CAP for a Twitterstorm this Wednesday from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT as part of the Day of Action.

Click to tweet: On Wed, 4/22 @3PM EDT, join @fractweets, our national partners and other advocates for a Day of Action Twitterstorm urging Congress and the Administration to boost SNAP benefits and help families put food on the table during #COVID19. bit.ly/fracCOVID-19


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