FY25 Guv’s Budget MLRI Summary, Rescind Cash Cuts, SNAP Application Support
We have a number of updates for you. The top action for you to take right now is to reach out to the Governor and ask her to rescind her cuts to DTA cash benefits. See more below. Our next Coalition meeting is Tuesday, February 27 from 10-11:30 AM.
Ask Governor Healey to Rescind Cut to Cash Benefits!
Families cannot live on SNAP alone! The Lift Our Kids Coalition is asking anti-hunger advocates to help them ask Governor Healey to rescind the cut to both TAFDC (cash for families with children/pregnant people) and EAEDC (cash for 65+, disabled). TAFDC and EAEDC benefit amounts are woefully low - below 50% FPL. Over 43,000 families and 29,000 older adults and people with disabilities cannot meet their basic living costs.
For organizations: Send a letter/email to the Governor explaining that cutting cash for extremely low income families harms our mutual goals of addressing food insecurity and poverty in MA. Let MLRI know if you need contact information.
For individuals: Call the Governor’s office: (888) 870-7770. Ask her to rescind the recent cuts to DTA cash benefits. Or, click here to send an e-mail.
MLRI Summary of the Governor’s FY25 Proposed Budget
Last week the Governor released her proposed budget, called “House 2” for the next state fiscal year - Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25). Each year, MLRI reviews and analyzes selected sections of the State Budget that focus on basic benefits, health care, housing and child welfare. Click here for MLRI’s analysis. This budget cycle starts July 1, 2024 and ends June 30, 2025.
Bad news: House 2 freezes DTA cash benefits to Oct 2022 levels and cuts the clothing allowance; fails to extend state-funded SNAP for immigrants; does not include state funds to replace SNAP for some families harmed by skimming/phishing; does not provide funding to DHE for college campuses to address food insecurity among low-income students.
Good news: House 2 includes a $25M increase for DTA’s central office administration and statewide priorities, including Summer EBT and a Mobile EBT pilot; fully funds the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) at $25M and continues Universal School Meals!
Now is the time to be contacting House and Senate members with FY25 budget priorities. Members will be meeting with Leadership in both February and March to share their FY25 priorities. House Ways and Means will release its proposed budget in April, Senate Ways and Means in May. Both branches then meet in “Conference Committee” in June to work out the differences for the final budget that goes to the Governor. Reach out to your Rep and Senator sooner than later to get them to prioritize these important nutrition and cash programs!
Sample DTA Notices: The Required SNAP Application Interview
At Coalition last week we discussed SNAP application denials and how to improve access to DTA. Folks had questions about the content of notices DTA sends to applicants. Here is a redacted packet of sample notices about the interview: the application received notice, interview scheduled notice, and a notice of missed interview.
DTA Assistance Line Access Barriers
Since July, about 1 in 2 calls trying to reach a worker on the DTA Assistance Line (877 382 2363) have been disconnected due to high call volume. This is unacceptable and an issue we know DTA is taking seriously. And, we’d like to hear from you if clients do not get the help they need when going to a DTA local offices. Nobody should be turned away or told to call the phone line when they go in person.
For SNAP application interviews: DTA’s system should automatically call people on the date/time of their scheduled interview. If you hear of issues with that call - it disconnects, the client can’t hear DTA, there is a long wait time when they pick up the call from DTA, etc - please let us know ASAP. Email or call Vicky (email@example.com, 857 241 1723)
Later this week we will ship on an FAQ on how to help clients who are unable to get through to a worker on the Assistance Line.
State-funded SNAP Benefits for Legal Immigrants:
In an upcoming eblast we will provide more information on the rollout of state-funded SNAP for legally peasant immigrants as soon as we have intel. But - in the meantime - you can advise your clients to apply for SNAP, but expect an initial denial notice. Once DTA has the program up and running (hopefully in the next few weeks), the SNAP benefits will be retroactive to the date of application.
And if they are an immigrant family already getting SNAP for US citizen or eligible immigrant dependents, they do not need to apply. DTA will boost the household’s SNAP - back to Dec 4th - if the excluded legal immigrant is eligible for state-funded SNAP.
|DTA application received, interview scheduled, NOMI redacted notices. Fall 2023.pdf (88.79 KB)