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SNAP Coalition mtg 1/5, Cash boost, SNAP Boost and P-EBT

Happy New Year! A number of updates and info on tomorrow's Coalition meeting below. 
 
First 2021 Coalition meeting on Tues 1/5 @ 10 AM!
 
 
Our agenda will include:
  • Federal updates on SNAP and P-EBT, next steps with the Biden/Harris Transition Team and the 2021 Congress (Food Research and Action Center)
  • State updates on P-EBT for Oct/Nov and onward, SNAP supplemental payment and the SNAP 15% COVID relief boost (see below). 
  • Check in on school districts taking NSLP applications (in non-CEP districts)
  • Unemployment benefits and SNAP - what has changed/what counts?
  • Check in on expedited SNAP, EBT card issuance, and impact of continued DTA remote operations
  • Local issues you are seeing.
 
TAFDC and EAEDC 10% increase issued effective Jan 1! 

Huge congratulations for our colleagues and the Lift Our Kids coalition for this significant win! DTA sent notices to cash assistance households - TAFDC and EAEDC - that their cash benefits increased by 10% effective 1/1. In some cases, this 10% increase results in a small decrease in SNAP. However! Note that supplemental SNAP payments are still in effect for all those who get SNAP and who aren't at the maximum grant amount. 
 
SNAP 15% boost is coming but hasn't been issued yet - stay tuned!
 
The COVID relief package included a 15% boost to SNAP (about $25 per person) for January 1 through June 30th. DTA has to make a number of changes to get the 15% SNAP boost out to families - and the federal legislation was not signed by the President until very late in December (12/27). Families have not yet been issued the boost in their January SNAP issuance. We know DTA is working as hard as they can to get this boost out to families (which will be retroactive to January 1st). We do NOT yet have information on when the increase will be issued - please stay tuned! Families do NOT need to ask for this increase - DTA will automatically issue it, just like they do with across the board benefit increases! (eg. the annual cost of living adjustment)
 
December SNAP supplement will be available on EBT cards tomorrow, 1/5 
 
Due to the holiday, the date was delayed from the typical date (usually the 2nd or 3rd of the month). DTA should be sending a text message to households eligible for the supplemental payments tomorrow as well. This emergency allotment "tops off" SNAP benefits for households receiving less than the maximum SNAP allotment, for as long as both a federal and state public health emergency declaration is in effect. This will include the 15% SNAP boost, once that boost goes into effect (supplements will be issued up to the new maximum grant amount). For more information on the supplements, click here to see MLRI's COVID-19 google doc. 
 
P-EBT issued 12/30, P-EBT card PIN-ing data & encourage outreach from schools to families! 
 
3 P-EBT updates:
  1. As we shared last week, DTA issued P-EBT onto EBT and P-EBT cards on 12/30. For more information and fliers and outreach materials, visit MAp-EBT.org 
  2. Also, DTA shared updated PIN-ing data as of 12/21/20. Click here to view the spreadsheet. For example, the top 5 cities with the largest number of un-PINed cards are Dorchester, Worcester, Lowell, Springfield, and Lynn. 
  3. Finally, we encourage you to reach out to school districts to ensure they are affirmatively reaching out to families. MAp-EBT.org has great sample emails, robocalls, and text language for CEP and non-CEP district posted here. Boston Public Schools, for example, send a text to all families! See attached. This is very helpful in getting the word out and we urge you to contact your local school districts to send out similar text communications.  
COVID-19 Eviction Legal Help Project for Massachusetts Residents

As evictions start to increase, the COVID Eviction Legal Help Project (CELHP) is scaling up statewide to provide more legal resources to prevent eviction during the pandemic. The project will help tenants facing eviction and owner-occupants who live in 2 and 3-family houses who are filing an eviction. To be eligible for free legal help a household's income must be under 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. CELHP is a joint project between MLRI, the Mass Legal Assistance Corporation and the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project.  

To find out where your clients can get legal help, how you can refer tenants, and for more information about tenants' rights and resources go to evictionlegalhelp.org. 
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