The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Register for trainings & alert to stimulus payment debit cards that look like a scam but are real

Hi Folks,
We're forwarding lots of good info fr SNAP coalition including 2 upcoming trainings: June 1 on DTA benefits & June 17 for the  rescheduled Basic Benefit Training on Immigrants & public benefits. 
 
We also want to alert you that IRS is sending out stimulus payments to 4 million tax filers in the form of debit cards.  These are tax filers for whom IRS does not have direct deposit information. The cards are sent by a private vendor that look more like junk mail or a scam than the real thing. This is a link to one of many news accounts of how easily this unlikely looking tax refund can end up in the trash!  https://www.inquirer.com/business/coronavirus-cash-eip-cards-irs-treasury-stimulus-payment-debit-20200529.html
 
This is info on IRS website about the prepaid debit cards -
 

Some payments may be sent on a prepaid debit card known as The Economic Impact Payment Card The Economic Impact Payment Card is sponsored by the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service, managed by Money Network Financial, LLC and issued by Treasury's financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A.

If you receive an Economic Impact Payment Card, it will arrive in a plain envelope from "Money Network Cardholder Services." The Visa name will appear on the front of the Card; the back of the Card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. Information included with the Card will explain that the card is your Economic Impact Payment Card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information.
 
 
One FAQ IRS does not ask or answer is what to do if you shredded or tossed your card? There are more FAQs on the Money Network website including this one:

What if my EIP Card is lost or stolen?

If you have misplaced your Card, you can lock your Card by logging in online at EIPCard.com to prevent unauthorized transactions or ATM withdrawals while you look for it. If your Card is permanently lost, it is important that you call Customer Service at 1.800.240.8100 (TTY: 1.800.241.9100) to report your lost or stolen Card immediately. For Cards with more than one name, only the primary Cardholder (listed first on the Card) must make the call. Your Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement Card will be ordered. Fees may apply. Please refer to the material in your Welcome Packet or see your Cardholder Agreement at EIPCard.com for more information.
 
---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Victoria Negus <vnegus@mlri.org>
Date: Wed, May 27, 2020, 11:02 AM
Subject: [Benefits] EBT card updates, register for trainings, fuel assistance
To: <benefits@masslawlists.org>
 
To: SNAP Coalition & Legal Services Colleagues
Fr: Vicky Negus and Pat Baker
 
Thanks to everyone who called in to yesterday's Coalition meeting after the long weekend! At this point, we will be moving to bi-weekly SNAP Coalition Zoom calls. The next SNAP Coalition Zoom will be on June 9 from 10-11:30. In between Coalition calls, we share critical updates we receive from DTA or national partners by email! Please don't hesitate to reach out between calls with questions or issues. 
 
EBT card issuance changes at DTA = faster service

DTA is now mailing EBT cards locally (from within Massachusetts). Previously, DTA EBT cards were issued via the EBT vendor, Conduent, from an office in Indiana - and it took 7-10 days, or longer, for a DTA EBT card to arrive in the mail. By mailing EBT cards locally, the goal is to reduce the number of days between DTA issuing the EBT card and the household receiving the card. Huge thanks to DTA for making this change.
 
DTA local offices remain closed while DTA staff work remotely. Homeless households or households without a mailing address need to designate a mailing address to receive their EBT card and PIN. This can be a shelter, a trusted family or friend able to receive the EBT card and PIN and give it to the household. Let MLRI know if you work with a household who needs a card to access benefits but is having trouble designating a mailing address.

Note: Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) cards were issued over the last week or so - but those cards are still coming from Conduent (from Indiana), so may take a couple of weeks to arrive. 
 
MLRI & GBLS training Monday June 1 - register now!
 
Date and time: Monday, June 1 from 10:30 - Noon.
 
 
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.
 
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. For more information and to register: Please register by completing this google form. After registering, you will get the Zoom information. 
 
June 17 MCLE Basic Benefits Training - Immigrants and Public Benefits 

Date and time: Wednesday, June 17, 2020, 9:30 am–4:00 pm by Zoom
 
This all-day training offers the nuts-and-bolts on how immigration status affects eligibility for benefits for non-citizen immigrants and refugees. Due to COVID-19, this is now an online Zoom training, with scheduled breaks throughout the day. The trainers include both immigration and benefits program experts. It will cover basic information about immigrants in Massachusetts, how immigration status affects public benefits in general and an overview of the most commonly seen types of immigration status and documents and key information you need to know about “public charge.” The afternoon will include presentations from experts on the immigrant eligibility rules in specific programs including the TAFDC, EAEDC, SNAP, and MassHealth and other subsidized health programs as well as state and federal subsidized housing programs. A final panel will cover important COVID-19 beneifits available for immigrant headed households including unemployment benefits, stimulus payments, Pandemic EBT and other critical resources.   
 
Register with MCLE here
 
Ways to apply for SNAP & SNAP outreach partner information 
 
Last week we shared updated information about all the ways households can apply for SNAP - click here to see that eblast. DTA and UMass Medical are keeping an updated list of all MA SNAP outreach partners with contact information and COVID-19 protocols. Please contact Vicky/Pat and Mary Loughlin at DTA (mary.h.loughlin@state.ma.us) if this info needs to be updated 
 
Fuel assistance applications accepted until Friday (5/29)
 
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) extended the deadline to apply for "Winter 2020" Fuel Assistance benefits - the deadline is this Friday, May 29th. Families may have unpaid winter fuel bills (oil, natural gas, electricity for heat, etc) that Fuel Assistance can help pay. Applicants need to file their Fuel Assistance application by Friday. Applicants will have a few weeks in June to get all their required documentation in, but they need to file the initial application before the end of the day  on Friday. For more information:

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