Greetings all, hope you are staying cool. The City of Boston has opened up a number of “cooling centers” for the next few days. Likely other cities and towns have as well.
Upcoming SNAP Coalition meetings:
First, we have our “regular” SNAP Coalition meeting next Tuesday, July 26th from 10 to 11:30 AM. Here’s the Zoom link.
Second, we will have a special meeting on Tuesday, August 9th from 10-11:30, with DTA and the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). DTA and MLRI will share information about the new SNAP medical deduction self-declaration policy. EEC and DTA will present on free child care for SNAP Employment and Training participants, and also on how getting SNAP automatically qualifies families for Head Start pre-K. Here is the Zoom link for that meeting.
ALERT: Encourage households to re-PIN EBT card to protect SNAP/DTA cash benefits from being stolen through “skimming”
There have been cases in the past few weeks of cash assistance households having their cash stolen through “skimming.” Starting recently, some SNAP-only households have also started to have their SNAP stolen through skimming. This is of immense concern, and is an evolving situation - but there are things households can do to protect their benefits.
The best thing households can do to protect their benefits is re-PIN their EBT card. DTA says:
DTA strongly recommends that clients change the PIN on their EBT cards at this time and before each scheduled benefit issuance date. Clients do not need to receive a new EBT card to safely access their benefits.
How to re-PIN the card:
Call the EBT customer service number: 800-997-2555
Select language: Options are English, Spanish, Portuguese. Vietnamese, Chinese, and Haitian Creole
Once language is elected, caller will be prompted to provide their EBT card number
If the EBT card number is not successfully entered, the caller is prompted to re-enter the card number or select other options to connect to their case
Follow prompts to change the PIN
When SNAP is issued in Massachusetts:
Regular SNAP: Between the 1st and 14th of each month, based on the last digit of the head of household’s SSN (the person whose name is on notices and the EBT card)
Emergency Allotments: The second business day of each month (at least $95 per household, for about 60% of the caseload it’s more than $95)
Here is DTA’s press release on skimming and here is DTA’s webpage with more information for households.
We know it is a lot to ask low-income households to regularly re-PIN their cards - but right now that is the best option. Re-PINing is the best protection against skimming and the best step households can take!
Please let us know what you are seeing or if you are working with any families who had their SNAP taken - including if SNAP goes off an account without explanation (this could be due to skimming). We will also talk more about this at Tuesday’s Coalition meeting.
Summer P-EBT - resources:
Summer P-EBT has been going out to families!* Summer P-EBT totals $391 per eligible child- but it is split into 2 payments ($195.50 each payment). Summer P-EBT is for:
All K-12 students in MA who got P-EBT in the past, who attend a CEP school, or were approved for free/reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program, AND
All babies and children under 6 whose family gets SNAP at any point in the summer months
*There may be some students who didn’t get Summer P-EBT yet based on data delays from their school districts. Eligible students who didn’t get the payment on 7/3 or 7/11 will get retroactive payments on August 3.
Connecting families with young kids to SNAP this summer means they can get Summer P-EBT, in addition to SNAP! Let us know if you are hearing about any issues with P-EBT.
White House Conference - Recommendations from Massachusetts resident with lived expertise and Central MA hunger advocates
The Worcester Food Security Task Force (FSTF), in partnership with the UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center, conducted two listening sessions in Central MA preparation for the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health scheduled for September, 2022. Additionally, Equitable Spaces, MLRI and the Worcester FSTF hosted a listening session on June 27th for persons with lived expertise (Mass residents throughout the state). The June 27th listening session was attended by Congressman Jim McGovern and his staff!
We are so thankful for all those who participated, and to UMass for assembling this powerful report. Special shout out to MLRI’s Gina Plata-Nino, and to Diane Sullivan and Jimmeika Mills of Equitable Spaces. The attached report has been shipped to the White House for consideration in the upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. For more information about the Conference, go HERE.