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Next FS Coalition Meeting - Tuesday, October 26th - 10 to Noon; ERS report

This is a reminder that the next Boston meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition meeting is Tuesday, October 26th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor.

A tentative AGENDA includes the following:

* Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Update on efforts to pass a child nutrition bill during "lame duck" session but protect SNAP funding from being raided.

* Planning for meeting with FNS Regional Administrator James Arena DeRosa: FNS Administrator Arena DeRosa is planning to attend the November Food SNAP Coalition meeting (11/30/2010). Let's brainstorm about some of the important issues we'd like USDA to address in 2011 and beyond.

* Standard Utility Allowance: Mini update on status of SUA (USDA recently suspended plans to require 17 states, including Mass, to reduce the SUA).

* FS/SNAP medical expense deduction: Another congrats to DTA on the huge increase in elder and disabled households now receiving this important income deduction. Discussion of how we can reach more elder (60+) and disabled households who may be eligible to take advantage of the deduction to increase their FS/SNAP benefits!

* Elder household participation: Update on number of elders (60+) current receiving FS/SNAP benefits in Mass and the growth by local county over the years. Brainstorming of outreach efforts to reach other unserved seniors who need FS/SNAP benefits and maximize benefits through deductions.

* SNAP Outreach: Update on Massachusetts' FFY2011 SNAP Outreach plan, partners and next steps

* Photo ID and TEFAP: Discussion of recent guidance from DESE on photo ID practices at food pantries that receive TEFAP food. We'd like to hear from folks about alternative verifications/best practices that organizations use if they need to confirm identity of low income persons seeking food pantry services.

* Shelter cost self-declaration: How can we improve awareness of DTA policy on self-declaration of shelter costs? How can households who file for FS/SNAP through the Virtual Gateway provide information on shelter (and child care) costs when the VG application does not collect this information ?

* Rental income: For households that have rental income (including rental of rooms in their homes, multi-family housing and separate apartments), how should rental income be counted? State SNAP regs conflict with federal SNAP regs, which fed regs allow for deduction of the mortgage and other home ownership costs from income. Please let us know if you have cases where rental income is improperly calculated.

* Voided Puerto Rico birth certificates: Update on efforts to address access to IDs, state agency policies on verification of age, citizenship or relationship for individuals affected by this policy.

This is a preliminary list of agenda items. Please bring to the meeting any items you would like to share.

Economic Research Service Reports on the Stimulus Effects of SNAP:
Need some talking points for why food stamps/SNAP is so important? Here's a terrific new report from the Economic Research Service. "Food assistance dollars not only support families’ ability to purchase the food they need, but they also have a stimulating effect on the national economy. This new ERS report examines the ways in which this impact is measured and calculates the most recent degree of economic impact SNAP dollars have. Overall, ERS finds that every $1 billion in new SNAP benefits generates $1.79 billion in economic activity as well as over 9,000 new jobs." Read the summary or the full report: h

Errata: The upcoming Health Care Access training, part of the Basic Benefits Training series, is Wednesday, November 10th, not Nov 11th. 

Patricia Baker