Replacement SNAP Benefits; State Legislative Updates, Federal Landscape, P-EBT and more!
Greetings SNAP Coalition members. We hope you had a restful Labor Day break. We have a few important items below, and a reminder that the next statewide SNAP Coalition meeting will be on Tuesday, September 26, from 10-11:30 AM. DTA Commissioner Jeff McCue (who returned to lead DTA) will be joining us. Here is the Zoom link.
Replacement SNAP benefits for food lost due to flooding/other misfortune
In light of the recent severe flooding over the past few weeks, as well as power outages for 4+ hours during Saturday’s strong winds from Hurricane Lee, don’t forget that SNAP households can apply for replacement SNAP benefits. SNAP replacement benefits are for households that lost food purchased with SNAP - food that was destroyed by fire or flood, or became unsafe to eat due to lack of refrigeration etc. This is called household “misfortune.” DTA will replace up to one month of benefits. The household must report to DTA the loss of food within 10 days of the loss. Here’s more resources:
A link to DTA’s SNAP misfortune webpage with information on reporting the loss.
Filing a verbal request: Households can also report the misfortune by phone by calling the DTA Assistance Line, selecting their language and then pressing 5, then 1.
MLRI’s SNAP misfortune webpage for more info.
State Legislation Updates
Please join us in supporting a number of important anti-hunger state campaigns! NOTE: There is still time to submit written testimony!
First, on September 12th, the Joint Committee on Children and Families heard dozens of bills, many of which are important to Coalition members. The Committee is still accepting testimony on these bills for the next few weeks, and possibly through the end of the year. You can send written testimony to: JointCommittee.Children&
Here’s three top bills that need your support/testimony. You can include all three bills in the same written testimony (no need to write separate letters for multiple bills to the same Committee).Be sure to include the name and number of the bill you are supporting.
Feeding Our Families Campaign: House 135, Senate 76, An Act establishing basic needs assistance for Massachusetts immigrant residents. This bill would establish the legal framework (subject to appropriation) for restoration of state-funded SNAP and cash assistance benefits for legally present immigrants ineligible under federal law. HUGE thanks to all of you who attended and submitted testimony in support of the Feeding Our Neighbors. Here’s a link to the Boston Globe and State House News Service stories last week, including the powerful testimonial from Ms. Figueroa working with La Colaborativa. More info and talking points HERE: Feeding Our Neighbors campaign.
Lift Our Kids Campaign. House 144, Senate 75. An act to lift kids out of deep poverty. The bill would require annual COLAs and set a floor for welfare (TAFDC) benefits at 50 percent of the federal poverty level. The Lift Our Kids campaign also had an excellent rally outside the State House before the hearing. More and talking points for Lift Our Kids..
Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) campaign: House 150, Senate 85: An Act relative to an agricultural healthy incentives program. The bill also calls for establishing a legal framework for the HIP program’s long-term sustainability. Again, much thanks to all who attended and/or testified in support of HIP. More info and talking points: HIP campaign.
Second, on September 18th, the Joint Committee on Higher Education heard a wide range of bills on supporting tuition free campuses and addressing student debt, as well as the Hunger Free Campus Initiative. The Hunger Free Campus Coalition was there in force, fueled by the MA Food Banks, the fantastic students at MassPIRG, our partners at Swipe Out Hunger and dozens of college students from around the state.
Again, you can still send in written testimony on the bill, House 1293, Senate 825. An Act establishing the Massachusetts Hunger-Free Campus Initiative. This bill establishes a legal framework within the Department of Higher Education to promote hunger free campus initiatives on MA public colleges and minority serving institutions. You can send written testimony to the Committee aides here: Rosalind Jordan email@example.com and Brian Rosman Brian.Rosman@masenate.gov
What happens to SNAP if a federal shutdown?
We expect you have been reading the news of a threatened government shutdown due to a paralysis of decision making in Congress. The federal fiscal year starts October 1st. If there is a government shutdown, we nonetheless expect that SNAP benefits will be issued for the month of October. We are anticipating FNS will be issuing guidance very soon to clarify what their plan is. Bottom line: SNAP households should not worry about losing their SNAP benefits in October.
We are also thrilled that our Legal Services colleagues at the Western Poverty Law Center in CA filed a class action lawsuit last Friday which calls on USDA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to take all steps necessary to protect 42 million SNAP households across the nation from loss of SNAP due to the shutdown. The lawsuit highlights the critical importance of the feds taking all necessary and available steps to protect access to basic entitlement programs like SNAP. We and our Legal Services colleagues are very optimistic that October benefits will go forward at this juncture. Stay tuned for updates at the 9/26 SNAP Coalition meeting. There is a LOT happening federally and in the state right right now!
Homeschooled and Virtual Learning Students Need to Apply for P-EBT by September 30!
September 30th is the deadline for low-income families with home-schooled or virtual learning children to apply for Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) for the last school year, SY 2022-2023. If parents or guardians homeschooled or did virtual learning last school year as a response to COVID concerns, they can apply for up to $1,241 in P-EBT for the year. For example: A parent or child who is immunocompromised may have homeschooled their child due to concerns about COVID.
Families must fill out an application for the P-EBT benefit by September 30, 2023. Note this is the only group of students who need to file an application for P-EBT. Other students do not.
Join a local DTA Advisory Board
Many SNAP Coalition members participate in the area DTA Advisory Boards around the state, there is typically one for each local DTA office (some DTA offices do not have active advisory boards right now). DTA Advisory Board members typically meet a few times a year (virtually) to receive local office updates and provide feedback and recommendations to DTA regarding the overall needs and resources of the local office service area. Advisory Boards also provide recommendations to the Commissioner on DTA policies.
Joining an Advisory Board is a valuable way to share what you are seeing in your community and elevate your concerns to DTA! Attached is a fact sheet from DTA about how to get involved.
|MLRI flier, virtual and homeschool PEBT. 9-5-23.pdf (374.07 KB)||374.07 KB|
|DTA_Advisory_Fact_Sheet_July 2023.pdf (127.24 KB)||127.24 KB|