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October 1st SNAP COLA: 250K MA households get small SNAP reduction, 155K get small SNAP increase - Advocacy Tips

DTA will be sending out notices starting September 24th advising SNAP households of the impact of a "cost of living adjustment" (COLA) on their monthly SNAP benefits. The COLA is a federal SNAP policy and impacts every state in the nation. As we noted in an early COLA eblast, there are both winners and losers. Those who will get a SNAP reduction are likely SNAP households receiving the maximum SNAP benefit and those with the minimum $16 SNAP benefit. Attached is MLRI's SNAP worksheet for 10/1/17 and we will have the SNAP online calculator updated as well on 10/1/ 17. 

Attached is a DTA fact sheet with caseload data, and a SNAP client flier.  DTA has done an excellent job explaining the COLA changes - but we still anticipate this will be quite confusing for many SNAP households.

SNAP COLA numbers for Massachusetts:

  • No Change:  17,539 SNAP clients will likely see NO change in their SNAP monthly benefit amount.

  • Benefit Decrease: 248,463 SNAP clients (more than half) will see a drop in SNAP of $1-2/mo. 

  • Benefit Increase: 154,063 households will see a small increase in SNAP, the majority seeing a boost of $7-8/mo. 

What you can do to help households with reductions

SNAP Math: Check up: Households getting the maximum but reduced SNAP benefit don't have any direct recourse in SNAP-land, but can check out the Healthy Incentives Program program at local farmers markets and other food resources. (Some farmers markets and CSAs continue in the winter).  Households getting the minimum $15 SNAP benefit should also be screened for all possible income deductions, especially the SNAP medical expense deduction available to elder (60+) and disabled SNAP households. When a household getting less than the max SNAP benefit contacts you, this is a great time for a SNAP math "check up."

Protect and Strengthen SNAP: While the COLA is a small loss in SNAP benefits in the larger scheme, storm clouds are on the horizon. See FRAC SNAP defense website. This is an opportune moment to talk with SNAP households about proposals on the federal level that could block grant or cut SNAP benefits.  Encourage your SNAP clients to take TWO action steps: 

  • Contact their Member of Congress to protect and strengthen SNAP.  We also need Congressmen Lynch, Neal and Capuano to sign onto HR 1276, Close the Meal Gap. See current MA co-sponsors HERE.

  • Contact Governor Baker to weigh in with other Governors to send a strong message to Congress: NO SNAP cuts! SNAP is an essential program and state's cannot back-fill any federal cuts. 

September is HUNGER ACTION MONTH!  Keep up the noise!

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