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Thanks to the hard work of Governor Patrick, EOHHS, DTA, our Congressional Delegation (lead by Congressman Jim McGovern), Senator John Kerry and members of the Food SNAP Coalition, USDA has agreed to NOT require states to reduce SNAP benefits on January 1st!  This three month extension will allow SNAP benefits to be calculated using the higher utility allowance through March 31, 2011. 

This is a brief announcement with two upcoming training events in December:

Wednesday, December 8
Income Maximization for the Working Poor (Families and Individuals). This is the sixth in the series of Basic Benefits Trainings held at Mass Continuing Legal Education in Boston, from 9:30 - 1 PM. The session focuses on various supplemental benefits and assistance programs to help working families and individuals maximize their income and reduce their expenses. You can register in advance, or the day of the event.

Today, tomorrow and early next week are opportune times to communicate with the Massachusetts delegation and their staff about the important of protecting the SNAP program and ensuring alternate funding for Child Nutrition. Members of Congress are coming back to work next week (during the "lame duck session") to take up this and a number of critical budget and legislative issues. The core message to Congress is a strong two-fold ask: pass the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill and fix the SNAP cut in a separate legislative vehicle!

This is to confirm that the next Boston Food SNAP Coalition meeting is scheduled for:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street in Boston, 6th Floor
10 to Noon, (and will start promptly at 10 AM).

In its October 2010 Report to Congress on “Direct Certification in the National School Lunch Program”, USDA Food and Nutrition Service reports that Massachusetts has one of the lowest percent of “categorically eligible children” certified for free school meals for the school year 2009-2010. “Categorically eligible” children are children who participate in the SNAP program or live in a household that receives SNAP benefits. The USDA FNS report is available at:

REMINDER: The November Food SNAP Coalition Meeting is Tuesday, November 30th from 10 to Noon. FNS Regional Administrator James Arena DeRosa will be joining us for this meeting. This will be the LAST Food SNAP Coalition meeting for 2010. An agenda will go out under separate email.

The following are address three important food/SNAP issues swirling around the country and the Commonwealth:

1) The Food Stamp/SNAP soda controversy:

A few miscellaneous updates for you--

There are TWO different Food Stamp/SNAP policies that affect persons with disabilities who are unable to purchase and prepare their own food. One rule affects persons who live and share food with other persons and who are both disabled and elderly. In this case, to qualify for separate SNAP benefits, the disabled person must age 60 or older, and must live with persons whose gross income is below 165% of the poverty level (this requires the other household members share information about their income).

1. Heat and Eat (H-EAT) update: Twice a year, DTA reviews the FS/SNAP caseload to identify SNAP households that are not receiving the heating/cooling standard utility allowance (SUA) in the calculation of their SNAP benefits. The heating/cooling SUA, added to rent or mortgage, can result in higher SNAP benefits.

This is a reminder that the next Boston meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition meeting is Tuesday, October 26th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor.

A tentative AGENDA includes the following:

* Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Update on efforts to pass a child nutrition bill during "lame duck" session but protect SNAP funding from being raided.