Thanks to all who attended yesterday’s Coalition meeting yesterday. We have a couple of updates.
First, we are also pleased to report that the “Lift Our Kids” amendment (#83) was partially successful in securing another 10% boost in TAFDC and EAEDC cash assistance benefits – Well done! Unfortunately the “SNAP Gap” amendment (#41) extending the time frame for EOHHS to implement the common application did not get incorporated into final House budget – but we still have the FY21 budget victory to build on, and will be working hard on the Senate’s budget. A few other key amendments supported by the Coalition - including the two EITC amendments and CEP amendment – were withdrawn by the lead House sponsors with the goal of expediting pending state legislation.
Second, we wanted to share these client materials and upcoming events.
SNAP Outreach Flier for RideShare and Delivery/Gig Workers:
We’ve received a number of questions about how self-employed individuals should report and verify their income when they apply SNAP benefits. Rideshare and delivery workers include drivers with companies like Uber, Lyft, InstaCart, DoorDash, and app-based companies. Most drivers with these app-based companies are independent contractors, which means they are considered self-employed for SNAP and other means-tested benefits (like school meals, WIC, fuel assistance). The attached FAQ – thanks to MLRI’s AmeriCorps member Aparna Raghu – details how these rideshare, delivery, and gig workers can report their income and claim eligible business expenses to qualify for and maximize their SNAP benefits.
P-EBT to SNAP Webinar for School Administrators and Staff – Monday May 3rd:
Is your school working with low-income households who are facing food insecurity? Join the Department of Transitional Assistance, in partnership with Brockton Public Schools and Shah Family Foundation, to learn about ongoing local P-EBT outreach efforts, helpful family-focused resources, and how you can help connect families who have received P-EBT with SNAP. This SNAP to P-EBT webinar is Monday, May 3 at 10am: Register here.
Immigrant/Benefits Training – Thursday, May 6th (rescheduled from April):
Many of you registered for the Mass Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)-MLRI Basic benefits training on Immigrants and Public Benefits. Unfortunately the MCLE server suffered a major ransomware cyberattack that persisted for a few weeks and they were unable to host the training on April 8th. This training was rescheduled for Thursday, May 6th. If you registered for the earlier training, you should have received notification from MCLE and your registration transferred to the May 6th even. If you have not registered, you still can! Register HERE (choose the “Non-lawyer advocate” drop down option and click “Update” to get the reduced registration rate).
Emergency Broadband Benefit - MLRI info session – Wednesday, May 5th:
The Emergency Broadband Benefit, or EBB, is a new program to improve internet connectivity during COVID-19 by providing a $50 monthly discount on broadband services and a one-time $100 discount for a device to eligible households. Eligible households include those where any household member receives SNAP and where any household member was approved for free/reduced price meals through NSLP in SY 2019-2020 or SY 2020-2021 (i.e. everyone who got P-EBT, including all households with students in CEP schools). The EBB application has NOT come out yet, but we are hopeful it will come out soon.
WIC updated gross income limits and WIC boost starting in June:
The Dept of Public Health (DPH) recently notified us that the WIC gross income limits were recently increased as of April 22, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Here’s the link to the new WIC gross income thresholds. Please continue to encourage eligible pregnant women and families to apply for WIC benefits (there are no immigration status requirements). And starting in June, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, WIC benefits will be temporarily increased for 4 months increase up to $35/ per adult and child to help households purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables! Another reason to promote WIC!!
Next SNAP Coalition meeting, Tuesday, May 11th.
At our next meeting on May 11th, among other topics, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Northeast Regional Office will be joining with DTA in giving Coalition members a brief presentation on “Disaster SNAP” or D-SNAP. While we never hope Massachusetts never faces a natural disaster that causes us to use D-SNAP, it’s really important to know about it in advance of when we need it!