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Below is an email from our friends at the Food Research Action Center, www.frac.org. The President's FY2013 budget projects the core nutrition and safety net benefit programs including restoration of SNAP funding cut in the 2010 Child Nutrition Bill! The President's budget also supports WIC funding, extends the Child Tax Credit and EITC and more. The proposed budget items on nutrition programs is terrific !

DTA Commissioner Curley recently issued a letter inviting more participation in the local advisory Boards.  A number of Coalition members already participate in DTA Local Advisory Boards in Boston, Springfield, Worcester, Revere, North Shore and other area offices around the state. DTA is also in the process of creating advisory boards in Fitchburg, Lawrence, Malden, Plymouth, and Southbridge.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in the federal poverty level on January 26th. https://aspe.hhs.gov/2012-hhs-poverty-guidelines

This COLA directly affects the SNAP 200% gross income test - the income test which applies to families with children, pregnant women and households with an elder/disabled persons. This COLA increase does not affect the other gross or net income tests or benefit amounts. 

Mark your calendars ! There are a bunch of upcoming trainings and anti-hunger events that might be of interest to you and your colleagues:

At the recent Coalition meeting we discussed some SNAP application verifications. Members reported at the meeting, and in emails to MLRI, that "verification checklists" sometimes asking the SNAP applicants for documents that are not required at all, where the information can be self-declared, or where the SNAP worker verify the information directly though government sources.  And, yes, we also see verification checklists (a.k.a. VC-1) asking clients for documents previously faxed or mailed (an ongoing problem that still needs close monitoring).

Yesterday, January 25, 2012, Governor Patrick released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 (FY 13), which is referred to as House 2. The following link is to MLRI's preliminary analysis of of selected Housing and Homelessness, Cash and Nutrition Assistance, Health, Child Welfare, and Child Care Items in House 2. http://www.masslegalservices.org/content/governors-fy-2013-budget-proposal-mlris-preliminary-analysis-selected-issues

We just received the attached email from the DTA Commissioners Office.  The cash assistance and employment support line items are basically level funded with FY2012.  The Governor also fully funds the critical TAFDC clothing allowance, which is terrific (this was initially not funded at the start of FY2012), and transportation assistance. 

This is a reminder that the Food SNAP Coalition is TOMORROW, Tuesday, January 24th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, Boston, 6th Floor. 

The Coalition agenda will include:

This is a reminder that the Food SNAP Coalition is on Tuesday, January 24th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House, 39 Boylston Street, Boston, 6th Floor.

The Coalition agenda will include:

1.  Welcome to DTA Commissioner Dan Curley
2.  Farm Bill 2012 Priorities, the President's Budget and Next Steps in Protecting SNAP  (see also Farm Bill Teach In - below!!)
3.  State FY2013 budget (the Governor's House 1 budget will be released next week!!) and report from local groups re meetings on the state budget

You may recently have seen or heard about a DTA policy memo instructing staff to close benefits of SNAP households that have a long pattern (more than 90 days) of use of their EBT card for out-of-state food purchases and cannot verify their MA residence. Here's a link to the recent DTA Operations Memo 2011-60, available on MLS: http://www.masslegalservices.org/content/ops-memo-2011-60-snap-out-state-accessing-snap-benefits