The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Veterans Benefits & SNAP; Trump Admin SNAP/Utilities Rule Strategy Call 11/12; Impo SNAP Policy Updates

Thanks to all of you who tuned into yesterday’s Webinar on Boosting SNAP through Claiming Medical Expenses, and special thanks to our presenters Christa Mayfield of Greater Boston Food Bank, Stephanie Overka of The Open Door and Rachel Kinney of Jewish Family and Children’s Services.  If you would like a link to the audio and powerpoint, let us know!

Veterans Benefits and SNAP:

Chapter 115 Cash Benefits: Our colleagues at the Veterans Legal Clinic of Harvard Law School have produced an excellent Mass Vet Benefits Calculator screening tool/calculator to help veterans and their dependents find out if they are eligible for “Chapter 115” Veterans Services benefits. “Chapter 115” benefits (named after the MA State Statute) are state and locally-funded cash benefits for low income veterans, their dependents and parents.  The monthly benefit amount is more than 2 X TAFDC, over 3X the value of EAEDC.

·         Check out the MassVetBen.org  calculator and screen your clients! 

·         Here’s their brochure on Chapter 115 Veterans Services benefits.

SNAP for veterans:  We’ve got you covered!

·         DTA has produced a handy SNAP Veterans Guide for community partners and veterans services officers. It also describes how Chapter 115 benefits are treated in the SNAP program. DTA is also growing the list of SNAP Outreach providers that work with veterans.  https://www.mass.gov/service-details/increasing-access-to-snap-for-veterans

·         Don’t forget DTA’s short SNAP brochure for veterans and military service members.  (Also available in Spanish). DTA is now tracking veteran/military service in SNAP (an optional application question) to learn if SNAP is reaching all veterans and active duty service members and family members in need.

·         MLRI has its short SNAP4Veterans one-page fliers posted HERE.

Nov 12th Strategy Call re Trump Admin proposed rule to lower SNAP utility deduction and cut SNAP!

MA risks losing over $100M/year in SNAP benefits, especially harming households with older adults and persons with disabilities. Remember to sign up and join us on Tuesday, November 12th at 11 AM to learn about this new round of proposed SNAP cuts and how you can submit comments.  Joseph Llobrera of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) will also be participating in this call.

To register for the call and receive the call in number, please fill out this Google form by FRIDAY, Nov 8th We will email you the call in number on 11/12 (11/11 is Veterans Day)  And if you have clients willing to share their stories, please urge them to fill out the Story Form attached that you can either use to help them submit comments, or send to MLRI and we will submit comments.

SNAP Policy Updates:

·         Supplemental SNAP payments for households who lose income or increased  expenses. DTA’s regulations require workers to issue a supplemental SNAP payment to households that report a change in income or expenses AND the change results in the household's net income dropping to $0 for that month.  For example, a drop in income (lost job or drop in hours), or an increase in expenses (shelter, child care, medical costs) that would trigger the household qualifying for the maximum SNAP monthly grant. 

 

Example: Mary gets $50 of SNAP on the 5th of each month. Mary loses her seasonal Christmas job on 12/26 and reports this to DTA on 12/27.  DTA asks for proof the job ended. Mary sends the proof 1/5. DTA should increase her SNAP to $194 for February, and issue a supplemental payment of $288 (the difference between the $50 of SNAP she got in December and January and the $194 max SNAP). Mary gets the supplement, including for the month of December AND January bc she reported the change in December.

DTA recently issued an Online Guide policy update reminding workers of this policy. Please let MLRI know if workers do not apply this important policy. 

·         Update on ABAWDs - revised DTA notices.  MLRI filed a lawsuit in July challenging DTA's failure to send ABAWDs (single non-disabled adults without kids subject to a punitive SNAP time limit ) a proper termination notice.  SNAP rules required notice be sent 10 days before the date the SNAP case closes. Because of MLRI’s  lawsuit, nearly 5,000 ABAWDs were issued an extra month of SNAP while DTA worked to fix the problem, and giving ABAWDs more time to meet the work rules or show DTA they are exempt. 

 

DTA has revised its ABAWD notices and is now sending a termination notice more than 10 days before terminating an ABAWD. However, we are concerned the notices are confusing. They do not clearly tell ABAWDs what it means to be exempt from the work rules. Please let Vicky know if you are working with any ABAWD clients, and whether your clients understand the work rules. 

SNAP Coalition Meetings:  Friday, November 8th at the Food Bank of Western MA;  Tuesday, December 3rd at St Francis House in Boston and Thursday, December 5th at Central West Justice Center in Worcester.  There is NO Boston Coalition meeting in November.


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