Updates: Healthy Incentives Program (HIP); MBTA Youth Pass; SNAP replacement benefits for power outages
We're writing to give you some updates on issues we've Â been tracking closely including the exciting Massachusetts HIP program.
1. Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) Update for SNAP recipients
The state's HIP programs continues to roll out out across the state with more farmers markets, CSAs, Farm Stands and Mobile Markets participating. The HIP roll out has been slower than hoped due to delays in getting the participating farmers the HIP-specific equipment to process the EBT benefits - but is definitely gearing up. Here's some resources for your clients and local organizations:
MassGrown HIP website with an interactive map of the farmers markets, CSAs, farm stands and mobile markets currently participating. http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgr
own/hip.htm This is updated regularly. Be sure to check this website before referring your clients to a local farmers market or farm stand. Not all are participating!
Sample flier from the Worcester County Food Bank with their current HIP retail sites. If your region has enough HIP providers, this is a terrific model to replicate! HIP promotional fliers in English, Spanish and other languages are available. And for more DTA client information on HIP, go to https://www.mass.gov/service-details/healthy-incentives-program-hip
DTA notice re HIP sent to all Massachusetts SNAP recipients the first 10 days of June, as well as a sample DTA HIP notice to recipients who access the additional HIP benefits. (Attached).
If your local farmers markets, farm stands etc have questions about the HIP program, how to enroll or when they will be getting the required equipment, please have them contact:
Frank Martinez Nocito,Â Project Director, Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), Department of Transitional Assistance
143 Munson Street, Unit #3, Greenfield, MA 01301
O: (413) 772-3411 M: (617) 308-5826 E: frank.martineznocito@
2. MBTA Youth Pass (for Greater Boston communities) Update:
A few months ago we shared information about the MBTA Youth Pass program. This means a $30 T pass for individuals under age 26 who meet specific criteria. That includes receiving SNAP or TAFDC or MassHealth, or enrolled in an approved GED or training program (not high school, b/c highschoolers get a diff discount pass). See: https://www.mbta.com/redirect/fares_and_passes/reduced_fare_programs?id=6442454105
Communities currently participating in Youth Pass: Boston, Quincy, Chelsea, Malden, Somerville
Communities invited to participate, but not doing so yet (some are working on it): Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Everett, Medford, Newton, Lynn, Melrose, Watertown, Milton.
Attached is a DTA notice sent to SNAP recipients in specific districts as well as a flier DTA created describing the program (they will be revising it slightly to clarify that receipt of SNAP, TAFDC or MassHealth alone is fine to qualify the individual). If you live or work in the communities not yet on board, give the City officials a call and ask, "what's up?" Let us know if and when they are planning to participate in the YouthPass program.
3.SNAP Misfortune Replacement Benefits:
Just want to remind folks that when a household suffers a power outage for more than 4 hours and refrigerated or frozen food spoils or is not longer safe to eat, they may qualify for SNAP replacement benefits under the SNAP "misfortune" rules. https://www.masslegalservices
Earlier in June, thousands of households in Western MA lost power. http://www.wwlp.com/2015/06/15/power-outages-in-wmass-counties/ A heat wave coupled with lack of electricity to run refrigeration or freezers can cause food to be unsafe. And some of the thunderstorms and high winds expected in the next few days could trigger more power outages, so please remind your clients about these replacement benefits.