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Press on Mass SNAP Growth; Training on My Accts Page at 6/28 Coalition

Mass. food stamp/SNAP use doubles, but pace of growth is slowing:

According to a Gatehouse News Service story today, reported in the Fall River Herald News, “Nearly twice as many Massachusetts residents rely on food stamps today as did just four years ago, but state figures suggest the rapid rise of people seeking help to buy groceries finally may be slowing. The number of Bay State households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, soared from 238,000 in January 2007 to 440,000 in January this year, an 85 percent spike.” The story includes local caseload data and comments from community organizations around the state, including the following from Philomena Hare of the Salvation Army: “The majority of people were working people, that's what's so disheartening about it”.

This Gatehouse wire news story may also be appearing in your local papers. Please consider sending comments to the area news blogs and/or letters to the editor on how critical SNAP benefits are in your community and the importance of protecting SNAP from block grants and cuts!! Read more:

http://www.heraldnews.com/x1388106056/Mass-food-stamp-use-doubles-but-pace-of-growth-is-slowing

Training on Virtual Gateway My Accounts Page (MAP) at June 28th Coalition Meeting:

The EOHHS Virtual Gateway Curriculum Development folks have offered to come to the June 28th Food SNAP Coalition meeting to train members on use of the My Accounts Page. (The EOHHS training will happen the second half of our Coalition meeting). As always, the meeting is the LAST Tuesday of the month, from 10 to 12 on June 28th.

We have found the MAP feature available through the Virtual Gateway - https://hhsvgapps01.hhs.state.ma.us/ierhome/LandingPage.do?method=displayConsumerHomePage&pageSwitch=HOME - to be a very useful tool for checking the status of a client's current SNAP case. The MAP allows a SNAP recipient (or his/her advocate) to access specific information about her case including: current DTA case manager, status of benefits, benefit amount, next benefit payment date, next recertification date and notices from the last 90 days. This tool is especially useful for SNAP recipients who do not have stable mailing addresses and need to print out notices or get current status information. Hope you can make it to the June 28th Coalition!