The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

P-EBT, DTA & food insecurity data, MLRI/GBLS training, Memorial Day messaging

 

P-EBT update - notices/cards were mailed to kids who don't get DTA benefits 

 
Notices and P-EBT cards for non-DTA families began going out this week to hundreds of thousands of kids across the state. The notices - addressed to the eligible child - will arrive prior to the cards. The P-EBT cards are mailed by Conduent (the MA EBT vendor) and will be mailed from their processing center in Indiana, while DTA notices are mailed locally in MA. Please tell families to save the notices because the notice has the child's case number - this P-EBT case number is necessary to PIN the P-EBT card. For a copy of the notice, see here. The notice was sent in English and Spanish with this babel notice in other languages identified by DESE. 
 
If families a) don't have the notice when they get the card or b) have moved and do not think the school has their most up to date address (the address on file with the school district is the address the P-EBT card was mailed to) the family should call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline 1-800-645-8333. 
 
Feeding America food insecurity data -  1 in 7 MA residents food insecure 
 
Feeding America released updated data on food insecurity during COVID-19. Thanks to the Greater Boston Food Bank for amplifying this data - see, for example, this series of GBFB tweets. 
 
Particular data to note in MA:
  • MA food insecurity has increased by 53%, 1 in 7 for the total population and 1 in 5 children
  • For MA children, food insecurity is projected to increase 81% this year - the 2nd highest rate nationally after North Dakota
  • GBFB distributed 8.1 million pounds of food in March and 9.5 in April - the previous high in its 40-year history was 5.7 million 
  • U.S. grocery prices rose 2.6% in April 2020, the biggest one month increase since 1974. MA already had the highest ‘cost per meal’ in the country
 
This data is stunning, but it is not surprising. DTA has shared about 80,000 households have come onto SNAP since the crisis began - but we know many are not yet connected to SNAP or important DTA cash assistance programs. Connecting all low-income families who are eligible with DTA benefits is a key way to fight food insecurity and boost the MA economy.   
 
MLRI and GBLS training: DTA Benefits & COVID-19
 
Please join MLRI's Vicky Negus and GLBS welfare law unit senior attorney Lizbeth Ginsburg for a training on how to access DTA benefits and learn about special policies and programs during COVID-19.

Date and time: Monday, June 1 from 10:30 - Noon. Please register by completing this google form. After registering, you will get the Zoom information. 

This training is geared at community advocates, legal services, the emergency food delivery system, social workers, health care providers, and others who work with low-income households and communities. Recipients and low-income households are welcome as well. We plan to cover the following topics and have time for a robust Q&A:
  • How to apply and basics of eligibility for SNAP, TAFDC, and EAEDC - with focus on process during COVID-19
  • Policies for those currently on benefits, including what to do if unemployment benefits begins
  • EBT cards - how to get, how to use, and household rights 
  • Access for special populations - disability, Domestic Violence, Limited English Proficient  
  • SNAP & immigrant families: basics of eligibility rules & public charge
  • Emergency supplemental SNAP during COVID-19
  • P-EBT for children eligible for free/reduced price school meals
  • Resources 
Please share this training opportunity with your networks. Contact Vicky Negus with questions or issues. 
 
Updated DTA data & DTA Connect resources 
 
DTA posted its May Scorecard here. Of particular note: 
  • 63%, on average, of callers to the Assistance Line who were trying to reach a worker were disconnected due to high call volume. 
  • DTA got 198,508 more calls during the day in April 2020 than it did in April 2019  (a 156% increase)
  • DTA got 50,353 more applications in April than it did in February.
These data are not surprising, but are concerning. We know DTA has been working extremely hard to address cases as quickly as possible and we are hopeful that affirmative outreach and text messaging from DTA - which started in early May - will make a significant difference here. Please let us know what you are seeing. 
 
Also, DTA has posted a DTA Connect  Q&A on DTA Connect services, troubleshooting problems, and what to do if households cannot access DTA Connect services during times of high volume. 
 
Messaging & action on HEROES Act over the Memorial Day weekend 
 
Please see the below from FRAC, including action steps while Senators are home for the Memorial Day recess next week. We also encourage you to read this Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' new blog post –SNAP is Responding to Increased Need, Early Evidence Shows - on how SNAP is responding to increased need during the current public health and economic crisis, and to tweet / social media these 4 CBPP videos on why we need a 15% boost to SNAP.
 
 

Pressure Needed on the Senate During Memorial Day Recess

Now that the House has passed the next COVID-19 recovery bill (HEROES Act) that includes a boost to SNAP benefits, advocates must pressure Senators and the Administration to act quickly to address hardship and stimulate the economy. While Senators are at home for the Memorial Day recess the week of May 25, advocates need to seize this opportunity to weigh in through various communications strategies, including email, local publications, and social media.

Each $1 in SNAP benefits generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity during a downturn. Urge your Senators to strengthen SNAP. Learn more bit.ly/2XYStXJ #SNAPmatters

  

Three Actions to Take During Recess

Contact your Senatorsthrough emails and calls to their state offices and urge them to act immediately to take up the House legislation, which will boost funding for SNAP and also strengthen child nutrition and other critical anti-poverty programs.

Write a Letter to the Editor on how COVID-19 has increased unemployment, hunger, and poverty in your community, and why the Senate cannot be allowed to take a pause from acting to address hardship and get the economy moving.

Get vocal on social mediaand amplify the need for the Senate and Administration to act quickly and invest in proven programs like SNAP that help struggling individuals and families while also providing a stimulus to the economy.

  

Message

A comprehensive COVID-19 relief package is urgently needed to both stabilize the economy and provide direct assistance to individuals and families through proven programs like SNAP and child nutrition programs, among other anti-poverty programs. The Senate and the Administration must act on provisions contained in the House bill that

  • boosts the maximum SNAP benefit by 15 percent;
  • increases the minimum monthly SNAP benefit from $16 to $30; and 
  • suspends SNAP administrative rules that would terminate or weaken benefits. 

During an economic downturn, each $1 of SNAP benefits generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in economic activity. Increasing SNAP benefits to meet immediate and future needs is the smartest investment for our nation. Action cannot happen soon enough.

By quickly taking up the latest House package and securing swift passage, the Senate will have the opportunity to improve the lives of 2 in 5 households with mothers and kids under 12 who have reported struggling with food insecurity since the onset of COVID-19, and the untold more living on the edge of poverty that are hit hardest by this crisis. We have no time to lose. 

For additional resources, check out FRAC’s COVID-19 Updates page.

About Us

FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Visit our Website (www.frac.org) to learn more. 

Contact Us

Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400
Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200
nsmall@frac.org


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