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Tips on reaching DTA, info on utility rights, public charge sign on and more

See updates and training opportunities below. Our next Coalition meeting will be Tues January 25th from 10-11:30 - agenda and Zoom link to come!

Tips on ways to connect with DTA to  help your clients 

As we shared in yesterday’s eblast, DTA local offices have been closing periodically due to the variant (Hyannis and Malden are still closed today). We also understand that DTA workload is very high in January - among other things, even more households may be applying for cash and/or SNAP due to  work or child care interruptions coupled with the end to monthly Child Tax Credit payments. 

 

Ways to check on DTA case information:

  • Have your client download/set up and use  DTA Connect to see info on their case, when they will receive benefits, send in documents and more. To learn more about options on DTA Connect, see this Mass.gov/DTA page

  • Hear automated updates on the DTA Assistance Line - 877 382 2363. You will need to enter one of the following: the head of household’s (the person whose name is on notices/the EBT card) SSN, DTA Agency ID or EBT card number as well as the year of birth. That allows you (if authorized by the client) or the household to hear case info. 

Ways to reach a live DTA worker:

  • For clients 60+, call the Senior Assistance Line at (833) 712-8027

  • Call 877 382 2363 - if calling to do a phone application, press 7 right away. Let us know what wait times you are experiencing! 

  • For clients applying for or getting cash and SNAP, if you can’t reach the case manager call their supervisor or the local office manager

  • If you/your client can’t get help + DTA benefits are denied/delayed as a result, call the DTA Ombuds - 617-348-5354. 

 

DTA needs permission to speak with you about a case. One way a household can give you permission to speak with DTA is by sending DTA a handwritten note stating they give you and/or your organization permission to speak with DTA about their case. They can take a photo of the note and send it in via DTAConnect. In our experience this is the fastest way! If this isn’t a good option, you can try a 3 way call or fax or mail in a release. 

 

Please let us know what you are seeing!

Upcoming NCLC virtual utilities & energy Q&A sessions 

Our legal services partners at the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) are offering Q&A Hours” are intended to be a low-commitment option for advocates to ask questions, share information, and learn from each other. Advocates are encouraged to ‘drop in’ to:

  • ask specific questions about intakes you are working on/issues your clients are facing;

  • ask general questions about MA utility law and NCLC's Stay Connected training materials (training recording, manual, materials packet, PowerPoint); or

  • share information about what you are seeing in the field and offer your own insights and assistance to us in the low-income utility advocacy community.

There are 3 date options: 

  • Tuesday, January 11th (2:00-3:00) - Today! 

  • Wednesday, January 26th (11:00-12:00)

  • Thursday, February 10th (12:00–1:00)

All will be on Zoom:

Sign onto Comments on Public Charge - Deadline Jan 14th  

Join MLRI and FRAC in signing your group onto Protecting Immigrant Families’ (PIF) comment letter on the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) 2019 public charge interim final rule. This is a letter about DOS 2019 rulemaking that adopted the DHS 2019 public charge rule - and is still in place despite the Biden Administration’s end to the prior Administration’s public charge rule. 

 

Fixing this is important, in part, because the chilling effect of the 2019 Trump public charge policy persists and the current DOS policy landscape is confusing for immigrants and their family members. To learn more and to sign on, fill out this form by NOON on Friday, January 14.

Webinar 1/26 - Partnering to Fight Hunger: Breaking-Down Silos and Incorporating Lived Expertise

Date and Time: January 26, 2022, 12:30 – 2:00pm ET  

To register and learn more, click here. 

 

This webinar will highlight opportunities to address food insecurity by connecting state partners and centering lived expertise, drawing from a recent national exploration undertaken by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS). It will feature insights from community members with lived expertise including Massachusetts' own Diane Sullivan, as well as state officials from Oregon and Indiana about opportunities to coordinate across Medicaid and SNAP to address food insecurity. The discussion will also explore ways to incorporate the experiences of community members into program and policy decision-making. We encourage you to sign up for this free webinar!