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MA Plan approved for P- EBT; Status of EBT Online Purchasing Pilot; SNAP Zoom Call tomorrow

This is a reminder of tomorrow's SNAP Coalition Zoom meeting, April 21st from 10 – 11:30 AM.  DTA will be joining this call. We expect a packed agenda given recent developments, so please tune in at 10 AM.  See zoom call info below.  Please also note, the Fallon Foundation has emergency grants to help organizations address immediate needs for food/social isolation.

Pandemic EBT State Plan approved by USDA:

Over the weekend, USDA approved MA and NC’s Pandemic EBT plans. See USDA media advisory:

Attached is the eblast DTA’s Ombuds Sara Craven sent out to DTA Advisory Board members on Saturday.  This is great news!  DTA will be pumping out the P-EBT benefits – about $200/child- to both SNAP families with school age children as well as all households approved for free or reduced-price meal status. About $100 million will be issued in P-EBT benefits for about 500,000 children, for school meals missed for March 16th thru May 1st(and likely more if school closed thru June). USDA has posted the 4/17/2020 letter of P-EBT approval to MA here.  Well done Massachusetts! 

MLRI’s updated flier on P-EBT for community organizations and our google doc section on P-EBT are both updated with more details.  Project Bread and the Shah Foundation are orchestrating outreach to families.  Stay tuned for more information tomorrow.

EBT Online Ordering Pilot – Status:

As announced by Secretary Sudders at Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, DTA will be filing a request to USDA to participation in the EBT online ordering pilot.  See NBC News Story. 4/17/2020. Note, this pilot will take a few months to operationalize after approval by USDA and will be limited to WalMart and Amazon (per USDA conditions on pilot). See attached summary DTA released to reporters.  (Note, SNAP also cannot be used for payment of delivery fees, and news stories confirm that even Amazon deliveries are very limited right now.)  

Meanwhile, MA State Legislators are also urging the Baker Administration to get MA grocers to beef up pre-ordering options (phone, online, fax) with curbside pickup and payment. See Boston.Com news story of 4/16/2020 with and see 4/15/2020 letter signed by 40 MA legislators, spearheaded by Reps Jay Livingstone and Mindy Domb.  See also WGBH’s story 4/16/2020. This is an option right now that does not require USDA approval or EBT online payment (remember, online ordering is difference from online purchasing).  Please let us know what your local grocers are offering.   And remember, any household member or trusted third party can food shop for a SNAP recipient if the trusted person has the EBT card and PIN. 

Fallon Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Funds:

The Fallon Foundation has  announce emergency grants for up to $2,500 from for organizations to help in addressing immediate needs around food insecurity and/or social isolation caused by COVID-19.  See attached for additional information and how to apply.  

Tuesday April 21st, SNAP Coalition ZOOM Call Info, 10:00 – 11:30 AM