More USDA proposed SNAP Cuts, TY booklet to Commish McCue, Medical Expense Webinar and More !
We have a couple of important SNAP resources and updates for you on medical expenses, veterans and “SAVE the DATE” events! And please note the new round of proposed regs to cut SNAP from USDA. Ugh !
1. Say NO to another round of USDA-proposed SNAP cuts!
Here we are again. USDA now proposes to change how states take utility costs into account in determining the amount of SNAP benefits for households. These proposed rules will heavily harm MA and sister New England states that have high utility costs, especially households with older adults and persons with disabilities! Comment deadline: December 2, 2019.
Early next week we will send on some MA specific templates and MA data you can use to send detailed comments to USDA. (And many orgs can use some of the data you included in your comments against “Cat El” rules – thank you!!). Our colleagues at the Food Research and Action Center have collected materials and an easy portal to file comments, here: https://frac.salsalabs.org/
2. Short extension to send in TY message to Commissioner McCue – Noon on October 16
Thank you to all of you who have shared your notes thanking the Commissioner! Due to the level of responses we are keeping the form open so more groups can add their personalized thanks! MLRI will compile the responses that we will compile and place into a handmade journal (from Ten Thousand Villages) to be delivered to Commissioner McCue by 10/18.
Even if you have already sent him a note of appreciation separately, we would be happy to include your sentiments in the TY booklet from the SNAP Coalition. Please fill out the form by NOON on Wednesday, Oct 16th.
3. Save the date: SNAP Medical Expenses webinar, Tues, November 5th from 11 AM- Noon
MLRI is hosting a SNAP medical expenses webinar with Greater Boston Food Bank, Jewish Family and Children's Service, and The Open Door! We will share basic information about the deduction and DTA policies, the difference it can make, how to talk with older adults and persons with disabilities about medical costs, and how to advocate with DTA. Stay tuned for an online registration form in the coming days!
Also, click here for MLRI’s updated SNAP Medical Expense "benchmarks" chart – this gives you a quick check on when claiming medical expenses makes a difference in the SNAP amount. Many thanks to MLRI's AmeriCorps, Ananya Bhasin, for her work updating this valuable resource.
4. DTA resources for veterans - brochures and information on Mass.gov
On Veteran’s Day in 2018, the DTA and the Department of Veterans’ Services announced a joint commitment to fight veteran food insecurity in the Commonwealth. DTA recently posted a SNAP guide for veterans, brochures, and more information on Mass.gov. To view DTA's resources and for more information about increasing access to SNAP for veterans, click here.
MLRI also has fliers and data on veterans in Massachusetts for use in your outreach work. See: Masslegalservices.org/
5. Upcoming SNAP Coalition Meetings: Mark your calendars!
· Boston Meeting, Tuesday, October 22nd from 10-12 at St Francis House (there is NO meeting in November, the December Boston meeting is Tuesday, December 3rd)
· Western MA Meeting: Friday, November 8th from 10 to 12 at the Food Bank of Western MA
· Central MA Meeting: Thursday, December 5th from 10 to 12 at Central West Justice Center in Worcester.