The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Updates on P-EBT, supp payment, COLA, federal action etc

 A number of updates below after Tuesday's Coalition meeting - This is a long one, but we have a lot of info to get to you all! Thank you to Ellen Vollinger from the Food Research and Action Center for her presentation on the federal landscape and to Brittany Mangini from DTA for her updates. The next Coalition meeting will be on Tues Oct 13th at 10 AM. 
 
SNAP supplement for September going out 10/2
 
DTA is issuing the supplement for all households not getting the maximum grant for September - it should be issued and available on the household's EBT card after 11 AM tomorrow (barring any issues). Per usual, households should get a text message informing them of the supplement. To learn more and see updated versions of our supplement fliers, click here. 
 
SNAP Cost of Living Adjustment - small increase to SNAP, still need to #BoostSNAPnow! 
 
As of today, October 1, maximum SNAP grants increased about 5%, and there were some other changes to the SNAP math (increased shelter cap, etc). For example, for households of 1-5, the SNAP grant amounts are now:
 

Household Size

Maximum monthly SNAP grant

1

$204

2

$374

3

$535

4

$680

5

$807

 
Many households will see a change in their regular benefit issuance amount for October. The supplement payments that are up to the increased amounts will go out early November. Click here to see MLRI's revised excel SNAP calculator and 1 page SNAP math worksheet. Click the following links for updated "SNAP at a glance" charts for seniors/persons with disabilitiesworking families, and those receiving unemployment. MANY thanks to MLRI's new AmerCorps, Aparna Raghu for her help updating all of these resources!!
 
This increase is tied to an annual Cost of Living Adjustment - it is not tied to an increase in food prices or need during COVID-19. We still need to #BoostSNAPnow!  
 
P-EBT issued for September 
 
DTA issued P-EBT benefits on 9/30 for the days that children were out of school in September (and also late August, for some kids). The amount of P-EBT per child was based on the days they would have been in school were it not for the pandemic - meaning days where the school delayed starting and/or days where kids are learning virtually (if they were learning virtually for 5 or more days in a row). For more information about who got September P-EBT, visit MAp-EBT.org
 
For children getting DTA benefits: P-EBT should be available on the DTA EBT card. When checking their balance, it will look like SNAP was added (for example, the balance listed on DTA Connect does not distinguish between SNAP and P-EBT). DTA sent DTA families text messages yesterday (9/30) alerting them to the P-EBT deposit on their account. 
 
For children not getting DTA benefits:  DTA added the P-EBT onto the P-EBT account for each eligible child - so for families who have their P-EBT cards from the spring, they should check their balance. Notices will be going out to these households soon (they have not gone out yet). More to come soon on how families can request a replacement card if they no longer have their P-EBT card from the spring, etc. Reminder to help connect families to SNAP if they are eligible! 
 
The amount of September P-EBT may vary widely, even between children in a family. For more information, see MAp-EBT.org 
 
Federal update: Continuing Resolution passed 
 
The Continuing Resolution was signed shortly after midnight after being passed by the US House and Senate. This is good news - The CR includes 2 key pieces of legislation for federal nutrition programs:
  1. It extends P-EBT through September 30, 2021 (end of federal fiscal year 2021) and expands P-EBT to cover certain younger kids in child care. As DTA shared on Tuesday's Coalition call, details remain uncertain on how/when this will be rolled out. Stay tuned, but this is good news!
  2. Extends flexibilities for DTA to manage operations safely and effectively during COVID-19, while ensuring low-income households can better get and keep SNAP they are eligible for (through next summer/fall). More to come on this, but this is a significant change and will be very important in the months to come. 
However, as shared above, we need meaningful COVID relief - these 2 improvements are important, but not nearly enough for our communities.
 
Public Charge - Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA Foundation Report 
 
This recently released and powerful report describes the expected effects of the revised federal public charge rule on MassHealth and SNAP enrollment, and its downstream effects on the health of Massachusetts residents, health care providers, and the state’s economy. 
 
This report reinforces the extensive chill effect in Massachusetts and the need to get clear information out to immigrant communities - reminder of the much improved EOHHS guidance on public charge DTA has posted here and MLRI's revised flier on SNAP and public charge here. 
 
10/15 deadline for IRS non-filer form for $1,200 stimulus payments (Economic Impact Payments)
 
Many people did not automatically get the $1,200 stimulus payments along with $500/dependent - namely those who aren't getting SSI/Social Security and didn't file taxes in 2018 or 2019. The IRS has decided that in order to get this payment without having to do a 2021 tax return, folks must fill out the IRS non-filer form by October 15. 
 
We recommend checking with the households you work with whether or not they got the payment, and encourage them to reach out to the following resources for help:
 

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