The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

SNAP & FPUC, P-EBT, food pantries & IDs, virtual Lift Our Kids lobby day

Updates and action steps below! We hope you have a very good weekend. The next SNAP Coalition meeting will be Tuesday, 8/4. 
 
SNAP and interruption to FPUC - what to tell households
 
Tomorrow, Saturday 7/25, is the last date - for now, at least - that unemployment benefit recipients will get the $600 boost to their weekly unemployment (either regular UI or PUA). This weekly boost is called FPUC. 
 
What to know about the future of FPUC:
 
There is significant uncertainty about the future of FPUC: whether an extension will be included in the Senate’s COVID-19 package, if it will cover a narrower group of claimants or a lower benefit amount, the timing of any extension and length of interruption in PUC before a package is passed and signed by the President. Here is an overview from Politico.  Based on current lack of action from the U.S Senate, we fully expect there will be at the least an interruption in this very important benefit. Many families across Massachusetts will struggle with financial challenges and vast uncertainty - if/until Congress comes to agreement about what to do with an extension in full or in part. 
 
What to tell families about SNAP:
 
Attached and posted in the google doc are sample SNAP math amounts for households getting unemployment benefits without the FPUC to give you a sense of some examples of households that qualify for SNAP. 
 
Also attached and posted in the google doc is advice for different groups of SNAP households who have been getting FPUC. This is our current advice - if FPUC is extended and payments start again, we will update this information! 
 
Contact MLRI if you hear of issues regarding FPUC and SNAP. 
 
 
Continued P-EBT outreach to 18% of P-EBT kids without a PIN-ed card!
 
Help make sure that all families with kids issued P-EBT can use the benefit to buy food! The below 8 cities have 1,000 or more kids without PIN-ed PEBT cards - and are all CEP schools, meaning all kids should get P-EBT. Check out your city/town here, and see if you live or work in a CEP district here. Please spread the word by getting in touch with your local school district and community groups - see outreach materials on MApEBT.org here.  Families who need a replacement P-EBT card (because they did not get one and should have, or because they lost their card) should call DTA at 877 382 2363 (press 6). 
 
WORCESTER
LYNN
DORCHESTER/BOSTON
LOWELL
BROCKTON
SPRINGFIELD
FALL RIVER
NEW BEDFORD
 
Guidance from State: Food pantries cannot ask for Photo IDs!
 
Last night, the Department of Early and Secondary Education (DESE) in coordination with the Mass Department of Agriculture (MDAR) sent guidance to the four Massachusetts Food Banks advising them that partner food pantries that receive state (MEFAP) or federal (TEFAP) emergency food assistance cannot require a photo ID or a Social Security card as a condition of giving pantry food. Further, DESE's notice is a reminder that households may self-declare income and not be required to provide proof of income. MLRI pushed for this state guidance after hearing from multiple sources about this growing practice among food pantries and the chilling impact this has, especially on homeless and immigrant households. The four Food Banks are in agreement that this should not be happening and also welcome this guidance.  
 
Attached is a copy of the DESE guidance sent to the Greater Boston Food Bank. Identical guidance was sent to Food Bank of Western MA, Worcester County Food Bank and Merrimack Valley Food Bank. This week, the state also released an updated website of food pantries in the four regions. Please let us know if you are aware of any local pantries who ask for photo ID (or SSNs) in order for families to access emergency food.
 
Sign up for virtual Lift Our Kids lobby day! Tues, 7/28
 
We're hoping you can take the following action steps to advocate for the legislation to Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty by raising cash assistance grants up to 50% of the federal poverty level. With the legislative session scheduled to end soon, we must act quickly! 
 
Sign up to participate in the Lift Our Kids virtual lobby day on Tuesday, July 28.  We will be tweeting short videos of ourselves asking the Legislature to act now to Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty. We can have a big impact by tweeting all the videos to legislators on the same day.  If you need help making a video, let us know on the sign-up form.  If you don’t use Twitter, Lift Our Kids can post your video for you!  Click here for detailed instructions for making and posting your video.
 

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