We are in the final stretch of the October and hoping you are hanging in there, and can enjoy a safe and scare-free Halloween. Our next SNAP Coalition meeting is tomorrow, October 27th from 10 to 11:30 AM. We have lots to share with you today.
SNAP Coalition Draft AGENDA (Tues, Oct 27th)
· Federal updates from FRAC, and brief Coalition discussion of the SNAP Coalition’s “transition” priorities,
· Update on ABAWD litigation: federal court decision halting the ABAWD rule – see MLRI’s press release on this huge court decision here!
· DTA updates including: P-EBT, October emergency allotment and SNAP “flexibilities”, data on the SNAP caseload
· P-EBT and homeless youth: Strategies for outreach to homeless families and unaccompanied youth.
· Closed DTA offices: Discussion re recommendations to DTA about how to improve access for vulnerable clients (eg. Homeless/phoneless)
· State FY21 budget: SNAP Gap, Lift the Kids, HIP and other budget campaigns
· Local issues you are seeing
90 Legislators urge Governor Baker to Implement IT Bond Bill funding to Close the SNAP GAP!
Here’s a link to the powerful letter from Senator Sal DiDomenico, Rep Jay Livingstone and 88 of their colleagues to Governor Baker urging the Governor to Governor to move ahead with borrowing the capital funds needed to allow MassHealth consumers to apply for SNAP at the same time. We urge you to amplify this letter through social media – use #Tech4Food and #CloseSNAPGap in your social media. Here’s an NASW-MA tweet you can replicate: https://twitter.com/NASWMA/
Tnx to the many groups that signed on to the organizational sign on letter. We have a NOON deadline today for groups that missed the sign on emails last week. See link to org sign on letter HERE.
Important P-EBT updates including homeless students and newly issued P-EBT cards
· Homeless students and P-EBT: Thanks to Emily Herzig of Northeast Justice Center in Lynn for flagging an important issue around homeless students, especially unaccompanied minors, who may not have received the P-EBT cards for which they are eligible. Remember, all homeless students are free-meal eligible under the federal National School Lunch Program rules. Homeless families and homeless students living on their own may have a hard time keeping up with reporting addresses to the school districts, and if the schools had the wrong mailing address when the P-EBT card were sent out, these students may never have received their cards. We encourage advocates to reach out to the local McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaisons in each school district to make sure they know how homeless students can get their cards reissued if they did not receive the P-EBT cards.
· P-EBT in the news: Thanks to MLRI’s AmeriCorps Aparna Raghu, here’s a 10/21/20 letter to the editor (LTE) she got in the Fall River Herald News to encourage families with unpinned CEP cards to use them and how to pin them. We encourage advocates to send similar LTEs local news outlets, as well as to reach out to local parent groups and school administrators to encourage boosting use of P-EBT.
· Updated P-EBT data and newly issued cards: Attached is an updated Excel spreadsheet of the current number of unpinned P-EBT cards by city and town. Below are the cities/towns with children that got the most new P-EBT cards in September - if Coalition members want to do any targeted outreach in those areas:
Cities/towns with over 100 cards issued, but less than 1,000:
ATTLEBORO, BOSTON, BRIGHTON, BROCKTON, CAMBRIDGE, CHARLESTOWN, CHELSEA, CHICOPEE, DRACUT, EAST BOSTON, EAST TAUNTON, EVERETT, FALL RIVER, FITCHBURG, FRAMINGHAM, GREENFIELD, HAVERHILL, HOLYOKE, HYANNIS, HYDE PARK, JAMAICA PLAIN, LAWRENCE, LEOMINSTER, MATTAPAN, MEDFORD, North ATTLEBOROUGH, NEW BEDFORD, NEWTON CENTRE, NORTH ADAMS, PITTSFIELD, PLYMOUTH, QUINCY, RANDOLPH, ROSLINDALE, ROXBURY, SALEM, SOMERVILLE, SOUTH BOSTON, SOUTH END, SOUTHBRIDGE, WALTHAM, WEST ROXBURY, WEST SPRINGFIELD, WESTBOROUGH, WESTFIELD, WESTPORT
Cities and towns with over 1,000 cards issued:
DORCHESTER, LOWELL, LYNN, MARLBOROUGH, REVERE, SPRINGFIELD, TAUNTON, WORCESTER
Positive updates to DTA’s SNAP paper applications:
DTA worked in partnership with MLRI and Greater Boston Legal Services to re-write the SNAP paper applications. DTA has posted the significantly revised paper applications here.
There are some elements of the final paper applications we think are confusing - namely the section asking about work rules and the time limit (those rules do NOT apply to most households, and are suspended due to the pandemic). Overall, however, these are a huge improvement – thank you to DTA for getting these updated!!
Reminder that during the pandemic applicants can apply online at DTAConnect.com or by phone by reaching a SNAP worker on the Assistance Line (we recommend pressing #6 when calling for new applicants). The paper applications are an important option for those who prefer to do a paper application or who can’t access the internet or reach DTA by phone.
Basic Benefits Training on SSI/Social Security – November 3rd
Rather than nail-biting on 11/3, how about joining the Disability Law Center for their annual MCLE Basic Benefits Training (a live webcast) to learn all the nuts and bolts of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security disability program? DLC and MCLE are plowing ahead with this training (yes, on Election Day), 9:30 AM to 4 PM. Your clients with disabiltiies cannot live on SNAP alone! Check it out!
The training fee is $35 for non-lawyer advocates (just click on the right drop down box to get the discount fee). Here’s the link to register, and attached is a flier.