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We have gotten some inquiries yesterday about the potential impact of the federal government shut down on the food stamp/SNAP and other programs. DO NOT PANIC, but DO TAKE ACTION !! Here's the skinny on the shut down - SNAP and WIC will continue.... for a while.

As discussed at March 29th Food SNAP Coalition meeting, USDA requires states to make sure their SNAP applications allow a household to “opt out” any person who does not wish to receive SNAP benefits or give information on their citizenship/immigrant status or Social Security Number (SSN). current version of Massachusetts’ online (a.k.a.

The email I sent last night did not go through properly. Apologies. Here is the text of the FRAC email and their invitation to the national conference call. This is a VERY important call if you can make it. 


Earlier today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) introduced his budget proposal for FY2012. While details are still emerging, the proposal would convert SNAP (food stamps) into a block grant.

FRAC has issued this statement: 

At Tuesday's Food SNAP Coalition meeting we discussed the growing problem of DTA delays in processing SNAP recertifications. Please let us know ASAP if you have any clients who receive a “blue letter” from DTA instead of SNAP benefits even though the household sent in a SNAP recertification form before the end of their certification period. Please also let us know about any clients who may not have received a "blue letter" but discover no benefits on their EBT card, even though they timley sent in a SNAP recert form.

The NEXT Coalition meeting is Tuesday, March 29th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House. We will be joined at the meeting by the newly appointed FNS New England Regional SNAP Director, Bonnie Brathwaite. Bonnie has been the SNAP Deputy Director at NERO for three years before this appointment, and has worked on a range of USDA anti-hunger programs over the years. It will be terrific to have her join in the discussion and hear from Coalition members.

A preliminary Coalition agenda includes:

With all that is going on locally, statewide, nationally - it is hard to keep track of the information on FS/SNAP and anti-hunger programs. Next week, many members of Congress will be back in their districts for Congressional Recess - and hopefully available to meet with constituents about top priorities for programs to protect as they move forward through a difficult year.

1. FS SNAP Recertification Delays: DTA issued guidance that effective March 1st BEACON will automatically close Food Stamp/SNAP cases due for recertification that DTA cannot process on time - even if the household submitted its recertification form on time and did everything else it was requested to do. Here’s the DTA Operations Memo instructing staff on the auto closure policy:

We have posted copies of DTA revised SNAP Brochures and a Senior SNAP insert, both of which are in Spanish and English, on the website. The SNAP brochures include the new gross income test amounts effective in late January.

In follow up to this AM's Food SNAP Coalition meeting, below and attached is the announcement of the Homelessness Safety Net Lobby Day from the Family Economic Initiative:


Homelessness Safety Net Lobby Day

Wednesday, March 2, from 12-3, State House, Room A-1


Under Governor Patrick's proposed budget for FY 2012, over 60% of homeless children and their parents with no other safe place to stay would be denied access to emergency shelter through the state's Emergency Assistance (EA) program.

NEXT meeting of the Food SNAP Coalition: Tuesday March 1st  from 10 to noon.  This will count for the February Coalition meeting. We scheduled it for March 1st  because next week is school vacation week, presenting a conflict for many Coalition members. The Coalition meeting will be at ABCD, 178 Tremont Street, 3rd Floor in Boston.  The regular March meeting will be the last Tuesday in March - March 29th. An agenda will go out under separate email.