Over the last month, several Food SNAP Coalition members have begun using the state Secure File and Email Delivery (SFED) system to ship client verifications to the Boston SNAP Web Unit. We are learning that the SFED system has several advantages over sending client verifications by fax or via non-secure email. First, using the secure email system maintains client confidentiality by keeping documents encrypted. Second, sending through SFED also makes client documents easier for DTA to work with over faxed documents, as the current DTA fax system requires several more steps at DTA to connect the faxed documents with a client SNAP record in BEACON. Here's the low down from two groups engaged in SNAP outreach who have started using SFED:
According to Amy De La Cruz of Project Bread, “The SFED system is a more efficient and simple method of submitting client documents to the Boston DTA Web Unit. It limits the number of times documents are sent via fax to the office. Also, the number of SNAP applications involving missing verifications has decreased. Project Bread finds using SFED allows for better organization and easier communication with the DTA office.”
And, from Benjamin Brennan of MGH Chelsea: “The implementation of the SFED has made tit easier to transfer of client information for SNAP cases and enhanced the communication between MCH and DTA. First and foremost, the elimination of record keeping by paper has made it easier for us to keep track of clients and has also made the ability to specify client information more accessible and faster. The security, speed, and thoroughness of the system have proven to be valuable components of the SNAP application process.
To use the SFED system, you must have an account created for you. Simply email David D. Sullivan at DTA: email@example.com. ) David will pass your name and email onto the SFED unit who will then set up an SFED account and send you back an email about how to activate that account.
Once you have an account, here’s what users and DTA has found the most useful in shipping document through SFED for SNAP Applications that belong to the Boston SNAP Web Unit:
· Scan all client verifications and any other case documents you are sending into one .PDF file. (avoid jpeg documents)
· Give the scanned file a name that includes the client first name, last name, and year of birth i.e. JohnSmith1966.pdf
· Sign in to SFED website and attach that pdf file to an email to CentralProcessing@MassMail.State.MA.US.
· Have the subject line for the email include the Client first name, Client last name, Date of SNAP Application: i.e. John Smith SNAP Application on 9-30-11
Although you can send scanned documents to CentralProcessing@MassMail.State.MA.US without going through SFED, the information in these documents won't necessarily be transmitted securely. Also, for client security reasons, you WILL NOT get any email response back from the DTA Web Unit on verifications you have emailed unless you sent through the SFED webpage. Once your organization has an SFED account., communication through the secure email address will flow both ways (This is not to suggest you will automatically get an email each time you send documents. But if the Web Unit needs to reach you or ask a question about a specific client case, they will do so through SFED.).
For more discussion on SFED dnd the DTA office service areas covered by the Boston web unit, see our earlier blog info:
http://www.masslegalservices.org/content/secure-email-sending-verificati... As we learn more about SFED and its use in other DTA offices, we will pass that on.