MLRI ABAWD lawsuit Notice of Settlement - good news!
Submitted by FoodSNAP on 10/09/2020 - 2:56pm.
We are writing to share very good news about a lawsuit settlement!
Since 2016 MLRI has been raising with DTA concerns about the termination notice that DTA sent to ABAWDs who lost SNAP due to the time limit (ABAWDs are the childless non-disabled adults subject to a punitive 3 month time limit/work rules). In July 2019 MLRI filed a lawsuit - Wright v. DTA - challenging DTA's policy of terminating ABAWDs' SNAP benefits at the end of the 3 months without sending a notice of termination 10 days in advance of the termination.
We have settled the lawsuit and DTA will soon mail out a Notice of Settlement to about 25,500 class members. Class members are all ABAWDs who were cut off from SNAP due to the time limit between April 2016 and July 2019. As part of the settlement, DTA has agreed to:
- Issue 1 month of back SNAP benefits to all class members - we estimate this will total about $4.5 million in back SNAP benefits!
- Invite all class members to re-apply for SNAP (if they aren't already getting SNAP)
- Use an improved termination notice in the future if the work rules go back into effect
We will let the Coalition know when the back benefits will be issued - it will not be until after the judge approves the settlement. In the meantime, class members have a right to oppose the settlement if they don't agree with any part of the settlement. The point of the Notice of Settlement is to inform class members about what is going on, and their right to oppose it if they wish (for example, because they don't think 1 month of back SNAP is enough).
We wanted to share share a few things about this with the Coalition:
- You can read more about the settlement by reading the Notice of Settlement - attached - and also posted on Mass.gov here in English and Spanish. You can also see more on MLRI's website about the lawsuit: Masslegalhelp.org/
- DTA will be mailing the Notice of Settlement to about 25,500 class members next week.
- Clients may reach out to you with questions about the Notice of Settlement. If they do, please connect them to MLRI! You can contact Vicky directly, or email ABAWD@mlri.org
- Reminder that the ABAWD time limit and work rules are suspended due to the pandemic (and will continue to be suspended for a while) - anyone cut off in the past due to the time limit should re-apply for SNAP! See our fliers here.
This is great news for many people across the Commonwealth - please let Vicky know if you have any questions!