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SNAP + College Students, Upcoming trainings, SNAP Coalition mtg schedule, etc

A number of updates and resources below - Including the 2021 SNAP Coalition meeting schedule! 
 

SNAP and college students 

 

  •  Expansion of SNAP under December COVID Package: The SNAP rules have not yet changed for college students. Massachusetts already has robust eligibility rules for students (including virtually all community college students and those who receive work study). To learn more about the current rules, visit MassLegalServices.org/Food4Students. However! Congress expanded college student eligibility in the December COVID package. DTA is working on issuing guidance on how more students can qualify for SNAP benefits - revised rules are not yet in place! In the meantime, what you need to know about the rule change: 1) students that are eligible for work study (even if no work study job) may be SNAP eligible; 2) students with an “expected family contribution (EFC) of $0 may be SNAP eligible. Here’s a link to MLRI’s memo on the federal student SNAP provisions that was sent to the “single points of contact” at all the public colleges and other stakeholders.  
  • Appealing a student’s EFC:  Students with EFC’s of more than $0 have the right to request a review or appeal of their FAFSA determination if there has been a change in income - this is especially important during COVID. Click here for excellent materials from the SwiftStudentportal on how to request a review of the FAFSA. They can help students draft an appeal letter to their college (for free!) 
  • MA Colleges Promising Practices to Address Student Food Insecurity:  Thanks to our AmeriCorps Member Aparna Raghu, here’s a fantastic memo highlighting the best practices of 5 public colleges addressing food insecurity of students. You can work with your local colleges to highlight some of these practices, and lift up more examples.  

 

P-EBT updates

 

  • December P-EBT:  DTA issued the December P-EBT benefits to eligible kids on January 25th. The next P-EBT issuance will be on February 25th. Visit MAp-EBT.org to learn more.  
  • New portal to check P-EBT balance for P-EBT cards:  DTA recently updated DTAConnect.com/PEBT to include the P-EBT card balance. For a screenshot of what the page looks like, see attached. Families can also call the number on the back of the card to check the balance. For families who get P-EBT on their DTA EBT card, the P-EBT is added onto the SNAP balance.  
  • New CEP School Districts:  In September, 53 new schools became CEP eligible (click here for the list of new schools), meaning all students in those schools are eligible for universal free school meals and, if the school has an eligible hybrid model or is remote, P-EBT benefits. Here’s a full list of the CEP school districts for the current SY21/22 – check out if schools or school districts in your community are on the list.  And here’s an example of media from the Revere Journal on 1/27/21 announcing P-EBT to all Revere Public School Students. Your local city or down could do the same!

 

SNAP 101 Training – Wednesday, February 3rd

Please join us for the 2021 Annual SNAP 101 training hosted by Mass Continuing Legal Education and MLRI.  This training will cover the nuts and bolts of the SNAP program, how to apply, household composition, immigrant eligibility, financial rules and – most importantly – what’s new due to COVID-19.  Register HERE

The afternoon session will focus on Utility Rights, delivered by Charlie Harak of the National Consumer Law Center.  Also a fantastic training. Register HERE for this and other Basic Benefits Trainings.

National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference in March 

You don’t want to miss this amazing national anti-hunger conference, this year a virtual conference from March 16 to 18. Learn from sister states and national partners about SNAP, child nutrition, WIC, emergency food programs, child and adult feeding programs and more. Connect with advocates across the country, get the most up to date information on what the Biden/Harris Admin and Congress is planning on anti-hunger initiatives. To REGISTER, go HERE

2021 SNAP Coalition Meetings:

In 2021, we are moving back to a more "regular" SNAP Coalition schedule. We will have regular SNAP Coalition Zoom meetings on the 4th Tuesday of the month with DTA, FRAC etc. Those dates will be:

  • Feb 23
  • March 23
  • April 27th
  • May 25th
  • June 22nd
  • July 27th
  • NO meeting in August
  • Sept 28th
  • Oct 26th
  • November 30th (5th Tuesday, after Thanksgiving week)
  • NO meeting in December
In addition to the 4th Tuesday, we may have periodic 2nd Tuesday SNAP Coalition meetings with special guests (FNS, other state agencies) and if there are breaking updates.  
 
The next SNAP Coalition meeting will be on February 9 from 10 to 11:30 AM - we will spend about half the meeting meeting USDA Food and Nutrition Service staff from the New England Regional Office (FNS NERO). You won't want to miss it! Zoom info and more to come. 
 
Unemployment resources from Greater Boston Legal Services 
 
Thank you again to Monica Halas at GBLS for sharing her immense knowledge about unemployment during COVID-19 with us a couple of weeks ago. Attached is her powerpoint - note this is up to date as of 1/19/21. 
 
Remember that the $300/week boost in unemployment benefits does not count for SNAP!! Encourage families whose income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level to apply for SNAP! Click here for MLRI's flier on SNAP and unemployment benefits.