New DTAConnect reporting option, skimming, state SNAP, trainings


Greetings Coalition members.  We have some SNAP updates and information on upcoming events. Our next SNAP Coalition meeting is Tuesday, March 26th from 10 to 11:30 AM.  Agenda to follow next week. 

How to get help from DTA & new option to report changes on DTAConnect

We know that it has been extremely difficult to reach DTA on the Assistance Line. DTA’s most recent Scorecard, posted for January data, includes new data on wait times for those who can get through the phone line. Wait times were very high for many people in January. And, 56% of all January calls seeking to reach a worker were automatically disconnected due to high call volume. These access barriers are extremely concerning for all of us, including DTA.


DTA has a new tool that may help for some households: Households can now update a wide range of information right on DTAConnect! For example, households can self declare rent, child care costs, or medical costs (for members 60+/disabled). In many situations, those updates will update automatically in their DTA case record and automatically prompt a recalculation notice if the reported change impacts their SNAP. For a screenshot showing the new reporting options for a working family, click here. Please let us know if you have any issues, concerns, or questions about this new tool! 


Advocacy Tips: If you or a household is struggling to reach DTA for help, see our Advocacy Tips on what to do here. 

Protect SNAP from theft, reminder on replacement process

DTA shared that in February there was a significant increase in skimming theft. March has not been as bad as February, but all SNAP households should be vigilant! The most important thing to do is to rePIN the EBT card before SNAP is issued. Please continue reminding families to rePIN. We know this is not easy for many. We are continuing to work to make sure all SNAP families have equitable protection in the checkout line. See, for example, recent NBC coverage of chip/tap EBT cards. 


If SNAP is stolen, learn about replacement here. Let know about any issues or delays getting replacement. 

State-Funded SNAP for Immigrants - Update:

DTA is continuing to process state-funded benefits for legally present immigrants in Massachusetts.  Here’s a couple of quick updates:

  • Families can apply for state-SNAP the same way as federal SNAP benefits. DTA will evaluate eligibility for both programs. See fliers in English, Spanish, Portuguese here

  • If approved for state SNAP, households are sent one notice envelope that includes both a denial notice and an approval notice. For sample notices, see our training powerpoint here. 

  • DTA is working on reviewing applications that were denied since December 4, and issuing retroactive benefits for eligible households. Contact the DTA Ombuds office (Sara Craven) if you have a client who you think should be eligible for state SNAP but who was denied since Dec. 4. 

  • The state-funded SNAP benefits are temporary. The program ends when the money runs out or June 30, whichever comes first. We need your help convincing the MA Legislature to continue funding in the program - both toward the end of this fiscal year and for FY25. PLEASE contact Pat Baker or Vicky Negus if you can help with the campaign. Client stories are especially helpful.

Immigrants Day at the State House, March 28th 

Please join us March 28th from 9AM to 1PM for this powerful event hosted by the Mass Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. This year, organizations will be advocating for new arrivals, language access, the Safe Communities Act, and internationally trained physician licensure. The Feeding Our Neighbors Coalition is enthusiastically supporting this annual event, where you will get a chance to hear amazing speakers on a range of important issues including La Colaborativa and meet with Legislatures to advocate for state-funded SNAP, other supports for new arrivals, language access and more.! Please join us! 


Please REGISTER HERE. And if you can volunteer to help at the event, please also Register HERE. 


Immigrants and Benefits Training: March 27th

On Wednesday, March 27 from 9:30-3 PM, MLRI and GBLS have an in-depth training on immigrant eligibility for benefits. The training covers: An overview of how immigrants obtain legal status, how to read immigration documents in order to understand a person’s legal status, and updates on federal developments. You will also learn about eligibility for healthcare, state and federal subsidized housing programs, emergency shelter, cash assistance (TAFDC and EAEDC) and the federal SNAP and child nutrition programs. The training is $35 for legal services/advocates. Register here. 

State & Federal Veterans’ Benefits training: April 10th

The training covers state veterans’ benefits under G.L. c. 115 (administered by the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services), and federal benefits for healthcare, service-connected disability compensation, and non-service-connected pensions (administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). The session covers the basic application process, eligibility rules for veterans (military discharge status, financial eligibility, disqualifying conditions, refund status), and the disability requirements for benefits. It also covers the basics of filing an appeal and upgrading a less than honorable discharge. Register here.