Our NEXT SNAP Coalition meeting is Tuesday, March 9th at 10 AM. The meeting will include a presentation by DTA’s SNAP Employment and Training team, to share some of the increasingly important resources available to SNAP households – all voluntary services – looking to get skills to get back in the workforce. We will also have brief updates on the American Rescue Plan, P-EBT for younger kids, and other breaking news.
P-EBT: Advocacy strategies to help maximize use of P-EBT
We are pleased to share with you a tool kit/memo created by MLRI’s AmeriCorps Member Aparna Ragu to help Coalition members trouble-shoot P-EBT benefit issues The attached memo attached highlights four current P-EBT issues and action steps you can take to improve access to and utilization of P-EBT in their communities including strategies to: 1) reduce the number of “Unpinned” P-EBT Cards; 2) boost P-EBT utilization for families in newer CEP schools; 3) ensure non-CEP districts are promoting NSLP applications for P-EBT and 4) address incorrect P-EBT benefit amounts. Please use this resource to guide your advocacy to ensure that all MA eligible families are receiving and utilizing P-EBT. Special thanks also to MLRI volunteer Beth Capstick for her help with this memo.
BREAKING NEWS! USDA also announced to the MA Congressional Delegation earlier today that DTA’s State Plan to extend P-EBT for infants and children ages 0 thru 5 living in SNAP households has been approved! Huge congrats to DTA. BUT -we are awaiting more details from DTA. In the meanwhile, let’s focus on the 54,000 unpinned P-EBT cards!
SNAP and College Students
We have a number of items to share with you.
· Social Media tools to reach college students: Just a reminder that MLRI has a bunch of fliers and infographics you can share with students to steer them to DTAConnect and enroll in SNAP. Check them out HERE.
· March 10th Webinar: How Financial Aid Administrators Can Help Students Enroll in SNAP During the COVID-19 Crisis
Wednesday, March 10th from 2:00pm-3:00pm ET | Register Here
Last December, lawmakers temporarily expanded SNAP student eligibility rules to make more students eligible for SNAP during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Financial aid administrators and colleges have a unique opportunity to reach out to newly eligible students and to help them enroll in SNAP over the coming months. We invite you to join experts from CLASP , MLRI and sister states (CA and NJ) to learn the best practices for reaching out to college students about their eligibility for SNAP!
- Hunger Free Campus Campaign: HD.2969 and SD 1477 An Act establishing the Massachusetts Hunger-Free Campus Initiative filed by Senator Chandler, Rep Mindy Domb and Rep Andy Vargas would create a grant program for 2 and 4-year state colleges to take steps to address student hunger and food insecurity on campus. Please help us get co-sponsors! To join the Hunger-Free Campus Coalition, contact Molly Kepner firstname.lastname@example.org Laura Sylvester lauras@foodbankwma.
Upcoming Unemployment Insurance Training – March 11th
MLRI is pleased to announce the next MCLE Basic Benefits Training, Thursday, March 11, 2021 1:00 pm–4:30 pm;
Description: Unemployment insurance (UI) is a critical safety net during periods of joblessness. This seminar provides you with the expertise you need to understand the UI system and to help your clients get the UI benefits to which they are legally entitled. Our expert panel guides you through the entire UI system from eligibility criteria to the appeals process. (Unemployed workers often cannot afford to retain professional services in pursuing their claims, so if you are a non-legal services attorney, you can register to assist someone in need of help, and in doing so, qualify for reduced tuition.) Training materials include the Unemployment Advocacy Guide: An Advocate’s Guide to Unemployment in Massachusetts. This training is co-sponsored by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Greater Boston Legal Services, the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and the Labor and Employment Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association.
Click HERE to register (And select “non-lawyer advocate” to get the discounted rate).
More DTA and MBTA news you can use:
· DTA Updates to Advisory Boards: Attached is a short summary of updates shared with the DTA Advisory Boards, This is a really good summary of a number of DTA initiatives going on.
· MBTA Youth Pass Fliers: DTA also shared with the Advisory Boards information the MBTA Youth Pass program, which give a discount MBTA card (Zone 1) to any person between the ages of 18 and 25 who are in an MBTA-approved benefits, education, or job training program, or receive any number of benefits including SNAP, TAFDC, MassHealth, MASSGrant financial aid, Year Up etc. The T has created fliers in English and 8 languages to promote this program. https://drive.google.com/