The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Oct 17th storm follow up: Are the families you work with getting SNAP replacement benefits?

We have just heard from The Open Door in Gloucester that a number of their clients who have filed for SNAP replacement benefits have been asked by SNAP workers for proof of the power outage. The Open Door has submitted nearly 50 replacement requests to date, and about 10% of the clients have been hassled for proof. 
Apparently some of the cities and towns impacted by the 10/16-10/17 powerful storm are not on the National Grid list of impacted towns (which is a tad odd). See for ex, Gloucester Daily Times 10/17 article here
The SNAP policy is clear: DTA must attempt to verify the "misfortune" first through a third party, and only ask for verification from the client if they cannot do so. See DTA Online Guide Misfortune instructions HERE  This could be from local news sources, Red Cross, utility companies, local police or fire officials etc.  DTA Nutrition Director Brittany Mangini confirmed this information at the 10/22 SNAP Coalition meeting. 
Please let me know ASAP if you have any clients who have been asked by DTA to produce proof of  lost power.  Please also let me know if you learn of a city or town that lost power but is NOT on the National Grid or NStar outage list. 
Here's the link to our Misfortune FAQs (in English and Spanish) and the DTA forms.  
Remember, households have 10 days from the date they lost their food (food that was unsafe to eat and had to be thrown away), and then another 10 days to get in the form.  But if they get in the SNAP replacement form right away (fax to DTA or upload to DTA Connect), that suffices for both telling DTA and getting in the form. No need to do both.   

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