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NPR Story on Trump Cuts; 2020 SNAP Advocacy Guide, Boston SNAP Coalition Meeting 2/25 and MORE!

Please join us at next Tuesday’s (2/25) Boston SNAP Coalition meeting, 10 to Noon at St Francis House.  A Coalition AGENDA is below.  We are writing to share with you a bunch of important information.

NPR News Story on Impact of Trump Admin SNAP Cuts on School Meals

Mass Witness to Hunger advocate Diane Sullivan takes on USDA Sonny Perdue and the conservative Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) chief Sam Adolphsen at the House Oversight Committee hearing this earlier month. The Committee was reviewing USDA’s proposal to lower the SNAP gross income threshold. Yesterday’s NPR story, How Trump’s SNAP Proposal Could Affect School Lunch.

"The truth is, the real impact of this rule on school lunches is virtually zero," Adolphsen told the …” not one single child will lose their school lunch eligibility as a result of this rule."At the same hearing, sitting just a few feet away, Diane Sullivan told a different story. She is an anti-poverty advocate with the group Witnesses to Hunger and has two sons in high school. "Without SNAP, in addition to having less food at home, my sons could lose access to free school meals," she said, calling the move "a gut shot to those least equipped to take the blow or to fight back."  Diane told the Committee that her gross income puts her family slightly above the the 13% FPL gross income test, as a result – she loses her SNAP, access to HIP and her kids will lose free meal status!

Dr Deborah Frank Exhorts MA Legislature to Close the SNAP Gap NOW!

Here’s Dr Debbie Frank’s powerful video delivered to the Legislature last week at our SNAP Gap Legislative Briefing.  Reps and Senators also received fact sheets and heart-shaped maze puzzles that said: “Food Access Should Not Be a Maze – It’s Time to Close the SNAP Gap!” And Coalition members delivered district-based SNAP Gap Maps the Friday before. Stay tuned for the final phase of the 2020 SNAP Gap Campaign!

MLRI’s 2020 SNAP Advocacy Guide

Hot off the presses, the 2020 Advocacy Guide is posted on Mass Legal Services HERE. We will let you know when the online friendly version is updated. Lots has changed since 2019 - so refer to our 2020 Guide to get answers to all things SNAP! And you can order an inexpensive paperback copy from MCLE here.

Filing for DTA Cash Benefits by Phone or Mail  

DTA has agreed to let persons applying for cash assistance - TAFDC for families with children and EAEDC for elder/disabled persons -  to apply for cash benefits  without going in person to a local DTA office. This is a huge policy change from the in-person application requirement! DTA's guidance will allow phone and paper applications if the household has a "significant barrier" that prevents them from going in person to complete an application. The household needs to contact the Ombuds Unit at 617-348-5354 to arrange for the phone or mail application. One cannot live on SNAP alone!  Please screen individuals and families with little or no income for cash assistance. See our TAFDC Advocacy Guide and the EAEDC Advocacy Guide.  If you have questions about these programs, call your local Legal Services or MLRI!   Also sign up for the MCLE’s Income Maximization training for the Working Poor, March 4th, 2020.

Resources on the ABAWD “Three Month Time Limit” – Webinar recording & powerpoint
Last week the MLRI and the Food Bank of Western MA hosted a webinar on the impending ABAWD rule changes – which may or may not go into effect in April.  Lawsuits are pending (MA AGO is involved) seeking to delay or stop the rule from going into place. There is a DC fed court hearing on March 5th. We will keep the Coalition updated.  

Boston SNAP Coalition meeting AGENDA  February 26, 2020:

The Coalition meeting will be from 10-12 at St. Francis House in Boston. The agenda will include:

  • Federal updates on SNAP proposed rules, Trump FFY21 Budget proposal and more
  • State Legislative and FY21 Budget campaign updates including SNAP Gap, HIP, Breakfast after Bell, School Meal Debt, Hunger Free Campus Campaign
  • SNAP Policy Updates
    • ABAWD 3-month time limit – check in on ABAWD rule changes/impact in MA and DTA preparation to screen households impacted areas
    • SNAP application updates
    • Review of SNAP Coalition 2020 priorities discussed in January and next steps
  • Public Charge check in on what you are hearing from clients (Join us for MLRI’s Immigrants and Public Benefits Training April 2, 2020) See MLRI’s public charge webpage and SNAP flier HERE.
  • DTA cash application policy changes, in-office visit not required for all applicants 
  • Open discussion on SNAP issues, areas of concern
  • Upcoming events