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SNAP Policy Update, Story Collection Form, Public Charge Webinar

Here’s information on two upcoming trainings, policy clarification on EBT card issuance and a template to collect stories about SNAP for your comments to USDA. 

Webinar on “Public Charge” and Young Children in Immigrant Families, Thurs. Sept 12th

Our national partners at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) are hosting a special webinar for organizations that work with immigrant communities, in particular organizations working with young children.  The CLASP webinar is this Thursday, September 12 from 1:00 - 2:30 PM ET. You will learn more about the federal “public charge” rule, how the rule impacts young children in immigrant families, and how to answer commonly asked questions from families about participating in publicly-funded programs and services.  Click here to register

DTA Clarifies Same Day Issuance of EBT Cards Without Photo ID

Thanks to terrific advocacy by the Food Bank of Western Mass (FBWM), DTA has updated its guidance to the field to ensure EBT cards are issued the same day as when an individual applies for SNAP and is in person at a DTA office. The FBWM works with ex-offenders and homeless individuals who cannot easily make multiple trips to a DTA office. Some SNAP applicants they worked with who did not have Photo IDs when they went to the DTA office were told they had to come back with a Photo ID in order to get an EBT card - or come back after DTA was able to confirm their Social Security Number with the Social Security Administration (a process that takes 24 hours, and would thus require the person to go back to DTA a second time).  

DTA Central agreed that their staff should issue EBT cards the same day as an application is filed (before the person's Social Security Number has been verified) as long as the applicant has proof of identity. Under the SNAP rules, examples of proofs include a driver’s license or state issued I.D., passport, birth certificate or hospital birth record, court or other government documents, military service papers, employment papers, and wage stubs.  The rules clearly state that ”no requirement for a specific type of document may be imposed.”  106 CMR 361.610(G)   Remember, getting an EBT card does not guarantee benefits on the card until DTA has processed the application for expedited (emergency benefits on card within 7 days of application) or regular SNAP (DTA has 30 days from application).

Many thanks to the FBWM for their tireless advocacy! Please let MLRI know if you have clients who need an EBT card but who don't get one timely.

Story Collection Form to Help Collect Comments against Trump Admin SNAP cuts

Thanks to our friends from Northwest Harvest in Washington State, we have recycled their story collection form. The attached one page form may help you work with low income households to submit individual comments to USDA in opposition to the proposed SNAP rules, or you can add the stories to your organization’s comments.  Known as the “broad-based categorical eligibility” rules, the Trump Administration proposes changing these rules and cutting tens of thousands of households off SNAP. Working families with gross income above 130% FPL and households with low assets above very low asset limits would be impacted. 

Personal stories make a difference.  File comments from individuals at the #HandsOffSNAP webpage or at . Please add your organization’s name to the bottom of the form and distribute widely.

MLRI Basic Benefits Training Series for 2019/2020 starts September 23rd:

We are pleased to announce the MLRI’s “Basic Benefits Training” series.  The first one on is on Monday, September 23rd.

BBT Session: Assisting Families Experiencing Homelessness

When: Monday, September 23, 2019, 9:30 am–3:00 pm

Where: MCLE, 10 Winter Place, Boston

This session focuses on strategies to assist families experiencing homelessness in accessing and retaining shelter, short-term housing, and services from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Trainers provide an overview of the Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter and services program, including current restrictions on access to EA shelter. The training also includes advocacy tips regarding the range of issues facing families at-risk or experiencing homelessness as they seek access to EA shelter and the HomeBASE program.  

Click here to register. The training is only $35/person for community advocates/legal services (click on the drop down box under "Non-Lawyer Advocates" for the lower fee). For a full list of MLRI'S Basic Benefits Trainings, click here.   The SNAP 101 training is Tuesday, Feb 5, 2020.