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Helping families losing Unemployment; Org Sign on letter to Congress re Students; Child Tax Credit, SNAP & Older Adults

Thanks to all of you able to attend the special SNAP Coalition meeting on Tuesday the 14th to welcome USDA’s FNS Deputy Regional Director Lizbeth Silbermann and her team.  

The next SNAP Coalition meeting is Tuesday, September 28th from 10-11:30  AM.  Among other agenda items, DTA will share robust updates including on the October 1 increase to SNAP (and materials on that increase to come from MLRI!) 

We are writing with some follow up items from Tuesday's meeting:

1. Time to connect families who lost unemployment with DTA cash and food benefits!

We strongly encourage Coalition members to connect families who lost Unemployment with key resources available to them – including food, cash, and housing assistance. 

September is a particularly critical time to make sure eligible families apply for TAFDC! Why?

·         Any family who applies in September and is found eligible will receive an additional $350 per eligible child as a TAFDC clothing allowance. 

·         Income eligibility is also expanded in September by the amount of the clothing allowance – which means families with some income may be TAFDC eligible. 

·         Families who get any amount of TAFDC – even if they go off of TAFDC in October or later  – can get “transitional childcare” for up to 12 months after their TAFDC end. This means there is no waitlist for subsidized child care!

MLRI and GBLS recently did a training on the basics of SNAP and TAFDC. For a copy of the powerpoint and additional resources, including fliers in 5 languages, click here

We remain disappointed that the Baker Administration is not doing more to connect families with cash benefits. Check out Vicky Negus’ blog posting, Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Have Ended, Now What? Please amplify and join us in calling on the Baker Administration to be more proactive! 

2. Organizational sign-on letter to Congress to extend SNAP for college students – Join us!

This is a quick reminder to add your organization’s name to the growing sign on letter to Congress urging passage of federal legislation to remove access barriers for low-income college students to get SNAP benefits. You can sign on HERE.  

uAspire has extended the sign on deadline to Monday, Sept 20th at NOON, EST.  Attached is a PDF of the letter and orgs as of noon today.

3. Child Tax Credit - New & easier form to for families through FindYourFunds.org

Code for America partnered with the IRS to stand up a simplified, easier online form to connect families with the Child Tax Credit. Families who have not filed taxes recently need to file taxes or complete this non-filer form to get the Child Tax Credit (and stimulus payments!). A few months ago the IRS estimated 58,000 MA kids would be left out of the Child Tax Credit unless their families filed with the IRS. The CTC is $250/month for eligible kids between 6 and 17 and $300/month for kids under 6. 

The new form is in English and Spanish and mobile friendly. FindYourFunds.org has been updated to connect Massachusetts families who have not yet gotten the CTC or stimulus payments with these critical federal payments – check it out here!

4. Average monthly SNAP benefits for older adults by city/town s

Thanks to Mass Councils on Aging (MCOA), twice a year they ask DTA for data that breaks down the average monthly SNAP benefits for SNAP recipients ages 60 and older.  Here’s a link to the data that Tara Hammes of MCOA shared on Tuesday (current as of July 2021).  Note that this average benefit data does not include the special COVID “emergency allotments.”  MCOA has found this data very useful in helping older adults apply for SNAP and doing “SNAP math checkups”. 

If you are working with an older adult or person with disabilities who was approved for a “regular” SNAP amount that is lower than the maximum SNAP amount (for example the “minimum” SNAP benefit of $16 - $20 starting 10/1), now is a great time to screen the household for medical expenses and other deductions. The notices households are sent when approved for SNAP include their regular SNAP benefit amounts. The Emergency Allotments are communicated to households by texts from DTA around the second business day of the month. 

See you on September 28th!