Update on Replacing Stolen SNAP benefits; Upcoming LIHEAP and SSI Trainings and More!
We have our next SNAP Coalition meeting on Tuesday, October 24th from 10 to 11:30 AM. Here’s the ZOOM link and an agenda will follow closer to the 24th. In the meanwhile, we’ve got some important updates.
DTA now issuing replacement payments with federal dollars when SNAP benefits are stolen
As of October 12th, DTA started issuing federal replacement SNAP benefits when SNAP was stolen through skimming, phishing, or other means. Under federal rules, households must give DTA a written or telephonic signature when reporting stolen SNAP. Here is what to know:
For households whose SNAP was stolen from between October 1, 2022 and October 12, 2023 and they previously reported to DTA their SNAP was stolen: DTA should have sent a notice to this group on 10/12/23 telling them DTA needs their verbal or written signature to get replacement SNAP. Families sent this notice only have 45 days to get DTA a signature.
For households whose SNAP is stolen in the future (or since 10/12/23), encourage them to contact DTA to file a claim ASAP, and do a verbal (telephonic) signature.
Here's how clients can get DTA their signature:
Online: Fill out DTA’s online claim form here (save a copy or screenshot if you can when form is submitted)
Phone: Call the DTA Stolen Benefits Line 833-602-9247, or DTA Assistance Line 877-382-2363, and say you want to provide your verbal signature for a claim about stolen SNAP to submit your claim
Use this paper form or a handwritten statement with the same information and:
Upload on DTA Connect or
DTA Program Integrity
Fraud Investigation Unit, P.O. Box 4411
Taunton, MA 02780-0435
Fax to (617) 348-5479
Drop off at any local DTA office
We know this process may be confusing, especially for families who were stolen from between October 1, 2022 and October 12, 2023. More information to come - but the core message for any family stolen from since October 1, 2022 is to get a signature to DTA ASAP! Please contact Vicky - firstname.lastname@example.org - about any families you have worked with or are working with who had SNAP stolen.
Uninterrupted SNAP Benefits in November and December if there is a shutdown
We know Coalition members are concerned about the ongoing threat of a potential federal “government shutdown.” Thankfully Congress reached an agreement literally at midnight on 9/30/23 to continue federal funding until November 17 while they sort out their priorities as well as leadership questions. Yesterday, Oct 16th, USDA also sent notification to states that SNAP benefits will continue - without any interruptions - for November and December. See attached FNS Memo. We remain hopeful Congress will get back on track over the next few months so that we never face this crisis again.
SNAP Math Online Calculator updated!
MLRI’s popular SNAP math calculator with the October 1st 2023 cost of living adjustment (COLA) has been updated. Feel free to share widely. All of our SNAP calculators - Excel, single page spreadsheet and 1-pager PDF can be found HERE.
Free LiHEAP/Fuel Assistance training on Oct 23rd:
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) along with three MA Community Action Programs are hosting a 75 minute FREE training on LiHEAP (Fuel Assistance) in Massachusetts. According to NCLC, the presentation will cover the basics of LIHEAP and walk through important updates and changes to expect in LIHEAP and weatherization for the 2023-2024 program year. In addition, the CAP speakers will go through some best practices for the application process as well as common errors and how to avoid them. There will be specific time held at the end for questions, but questions will also be fielded throughout.
The training on 10/23 is from 11 AM to 12:15 PM. To register, go HERE.
Training on the Basics of SSI/SSDI (Supplemental Security Income/Social Security Disability Insurance) on Nov 8th:
Social Security disability programs - including SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) continue to be a major source of cash and health benefits for individuals with disabilities. However, dealing with a large federal agency can be daunting and overwhelming, especially for an unrepresented claimant. The program begins with an overview of the two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), with emphasis on eligibility requirements and procedures, including online procedures and any remaining COVID-19 related procedures, basic disability eligibility standards and non-disability issues such as income, resources, and non-citizen criteria.
The training is on 11/8 from 9:30 to 4 PM. Register HERE! Be sure to click on “non-lawyer advocate in the MCLE “Cart” and then “update” to get the discounted rate.
|FNS Memo_SNAP Issuance_Contining Appropriations Act 2024.pdf (129.6 KB)