DTA recently instituted some important changes in the Virtual Gateway SNAP application. The SNAP web application now asks all three screening questions for “expedited” benefits and flags the case for follow-up by the Web Units when an applicant indicates that he or she falls into one of the expedited SNAP benefit categories. The expedited eligibility questions have been on the paper SNAP applications all along, and expedited screening is done for individuals who walk into local DTA offices. The web application, however, lacked these questions in the past few years. Kudos to DTA for reinstating these important screening questions in the on-line SNAP application !!
Additionally, the web SNAP application now includes information about the “SNAP Privacy Act.” The Privacy Act details the federal statutory authority for collecting Social Security numbers (SSN) and what DTA will use the SSN for. It explains that revealing one’s SSN is voluntary, but a household member that fails to do so is not eligible for SNAP benefits. Adding the SNAP privacy act information is an important step in informing all households - including immigrant-headed families. DTA is also working on further revisions to the web application that will advise immigrant households of the right to “opt-out” household members who do not wish to provide information on immigrant status, and the impact on benefits of not participating. Coalition members who work with immigrant communities and have an interest in this issue, please send me an email.
The SNAP web application is available at the following friendly URL: https://www.mass.gov/snap-benefits-food-stamps
REMINDER: Next Food SNAP Coalition Meeting, May 24th at St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street in Boston, 10 - noon.