A bunch of updates below! And our next SNAP Coalition meeting will be on Tuesday, June 28 from 10-11:30 AM.
P-EBT food dollars issued 5/25 for eligible school-aged kids
This week DTA started issuing P-EBT benefits for school year 2021-2022 on P-EBT or EBT cards! Families should start to get notices from DTA about this very soon. In the meantime, families should check the balance on their P-EBT or EBT card. DTA bases the amount of P-EBT benefits issued on data DESE received from the child’s school about COVID-related absences. The notice families will get tells them if the P-EBT was put on a P-EBT or EBT card. For more information, see MAp-EBT.org.
If a family thinks their child missed more days of school due to COVID-related reasons than reflected in the P-EBT amount, they should fill out a “Request for Review” form and return it to their school. For more information on this process, see this page on MAp-EBT - the form is translated into 11 languages here.
Let Vicky - email@example.com - know what you are hearing from families and if you have questions or see P-EBT issues.
June 2 FindYourFunds webinar - tune in to connect families to Child Tax Credit & EITC!
June 2 at 12 PM: Register today to find out how families- including those who lack income or immigration status - can access thousands of dollars in federal funds for their kids (who have Social Security numbers).
SNAP and other federal benefits for Ukrainians - law change!
Last week, the US Senate finally passed and then on Saturday, President Biden signed the United for Ukrainians emergency package. Section 401 of the legislation allows Ukrainians granted humanitarian parole to qualify for federal benefits the same as refugees and asylees. That means these Ukrainian parolees will now qualify for SNAP, TAFDC, SSI, LIHEAP and other federal public benefits with no 5 year waiting period and regardless of length of parole status.
Please make sure DTA is aware of any Ukrainian families who previously applied for SNAP or cash benefits so they can get an application filed moving forward. HUGE thanks to Marion Hohn, CWJC and Jessica Chicco of MIRA for joining with MLRI to get Congressmen McGovern and Neal to push for this language. There are a couple hundred Ukrainian parolees in Western Mass who will benefit from this law change alone.
Here's MLRI's media statement.Please join us in thanking Congressmen McGovern and Neal profusely for their work on this!
Lift the Bar - need more MA delegation co-sponsors!
While we are thrilled Ukrainians are now eligible for SNAP and other federal benefits, this is only a piecemeal solution to our fractured safety-net program. Thousands of legally present immigrants are ineligible for SNAP and other public benefits unless they meet the narrow “qualified” immigrant rules and, for some benefits like SNAP, must show legal status for 5 years unless under 18, disabled, or have sufficient work history. These rules are harmful and diminish the critical impact SNAP, cash assistance, LIHEAP and other programs have in helping families through a rough time.
The Lift the Bar Act of 2021 would remove the 5 year bar and make other long-overdue improvements to SNAP eligibility for non-citizen immigrants. Representatives Auchincloss, McGovern, Pressley, Trahan and Moulton are all co-sponsors - please thank them! And, if not listed, please call your U.S. Rep and ask them to join their colleagues in the delegation and co-sponsor! Here’s the MIRA Coalition’s fact sheet on the Lift the Bar Act.
WIC and the formula shortage - Massachusetts WIC information
MA WIC and the Department of Public Health have posted information for families here (a brief overview) and more in depth information here.
HIP applications for new farmer vendors due June 8, farmers can apply by phone!
HIP is now taking applications for additional farmer vendors! DTA is especially seeking farmer vendors located in and to serve the following priority communities - areas designated as food deserts and/or environmental justice communities as well as areas with relatively few HIP access points relative to their SNAP client populations. This list includes but is not limited to: Brockton, Springfield, Fall River, New Bedford, Worcester, Chelsea, Randolph, Lawrence, Everett, Taunton, Lynn, Boston, Malden, Lowell, Southbridge, Revere, Holyoke, Fitchburg, West Springfield, Milford, Palmer, Chicopee, Webster, Pittsfield, and Marlborough.
Priority Populations are those for whom food insecurity has been historically disproportionate and rates of chronic disease high, including but not limited to, SNAP clients with disabilities and/or Black SNAP clients, who have historically accessed fewer HIP locations compared to other client populations.
Application period is open until June 8, 2022 and DTA will accept telephonic applications! New HIP-eligible vendors and existing HIP vendors may apply. To apply and learn more: Mass.gov/hipnoo
June 7 Northeast listening session - White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
See below for more information from FRAC and how to register!