Reaching DTA, Fri PEBT issuance, clothing allowance, Sept 12 hearings, & MassHealth reevals
We hope you are having a good August. And thanks for bearing with us - This is a long eblast because we have a lot of late August updates! As always, please let us know if you have any questions or issues, and what you and your clients are experiencing.
What to do if difficult to get through Assistance Line or reach local DTA office:
It has been challenging for many people to reach DTA recently by phone. For people trying to apply or get help with their case who can’t reach DTA by phone:
Does DTAConnect help solve the problem? See more on what DTAConnect can do.
For older adults 60+: Call the Senior Assistance Office and leave a voicemail if need be. (833) 712-8027.
In-person help: For people with urgent issues who are able to do so, go to a local DTA office during business hours.
DTA Ombuds office: Call the Ombuds at 617-348-5354 and leave a voicemail.
Document all attempted calls: This can show a delay was not the client’s fault.
File an appeal asking for a hearing: If an appeal request is filed before the date a termination or reduction goes into effect - unless the household is at a Recertification point - SNAP should continue until there is a fair hearing and the appeal is decided. Here is more information on filing an appeal.
Reminder for phone applications:
People who want to apply for SNAP by phone need to press #7 when they call 877 382 2363 to reach a worker. It’s very difficult to reach a worker for a phone application if the caller doesn’t do this.
People applying for TAFDC/EAEDC cash benefits by phone need to call the DTA local office.
If the client needs to apply and can’t reach DTA by phone, get in an application on DTAConnect.com. Do not delay submitting, benefits go back to date of application!
Please let Vicky at firstname.lastname@example.org know of any issues.
Pandemic EBT will be issued Friday, 8/25 for kids under 6 who were getting SNAP September 2022 - May 2023
Here is what is going on:
DTA is issuing P-EBT on Friday to children who were ages 0-5 during the school year
This P-EBT will be issued to approximately 100,000+ children under 6
The amount will be $30 for each month the child was on SNAP from September 2022 through April 2023, and $15 if they were on SNAP in May. The maximum payment per child will be $255.
DTA is sending this notice out to households who will get P-EBT for kids under 6.
The P-EBT for kids under 6 will go on the household’s EBT card.
Some families who will get this payment haven’t had SNAP for many months. If a family is no longer getting SNAP and does not have their EBT card to use the P-EBT they can:
Get a card in a local office
Call 877 382 2363 and press 7 to reach a worker to request a card, or
If they were terminated from SNAP within the past 60 or so days, they can use DTA Connect or the automated phone system at 877 382 2363 to request a new card.
And, encourage families not on SNAP any more to reapply if they are eligible!
Please let Vicky at email@example.com know of any issues.
September TAFDC clothing allowance: Encourage low income families to apply!
Children who get TAFDC will be issued $450 in the annual TAFDC clothing allowance. These dollars will be paid to families on August 25 if they are already on TAFDC.
For families with kids not getting TAFDC: The income limits for TAFDC go up in the month of September because of the clothing allowance. Families with low income may be able to get TAFDC/the clothing allowance even if they are not normally eligible for TAFDC.
For example: Parents of 3 kids are both working minimum wage jobs. They earn $2,000 a month for a family of 5. Normally they are not eligible for TAFDC. In September, the income limit goes up by $450 per child (the amount of the clothing allowance). With the higher limit, they are eligible. They apply and get TAFDC, including $1,350 for the September clothing allowance.
For more information about TAFDC and the clothing allowance, see MLRI fliers on MassLegalHelp here.
September hearings for Feeding Our Neighbors and Lift Our Kids campaign - join us!
On Tuesday, September 12th the Joint Committee on Children and Families has scheduled a public hearing on a number of bills before the Committee - including Feeding Our Neighbors and Lift Our Kids Campaign.
The Feeding Our Neighbors bill would restore state-funded cash and SNAP benefits to legally present immigrants currently ineligible for TAFDC and SNAP, House 135 and Senate 76. See Campaign Fact Sheet. To learn more about Feeding Our Neighbors and to take action on the Sept 12 hearing, join the coalition here.
The Lift Our Kids bill would increase TAFDC and EAEDC benefits over time until they reach 50% of the Federal Poverty level - $1036 a month for a family of 3 (versus $786, the current TAFDC grant for 3). To learn more about Lift Our Kids and to take action on the Sept 12 hearing, join the coalition here.
MLRI Website to Connect MassHealth Beneficiaries and Advocates to Resources
Our colleagues at MLRI launched a new website, MassHealthProject.org, for their MassHealth Monitoring Project. For the last three years special pandemic protections have been in place to prevent people enrolled in MassHealth from losing coverage. Those special protections have ended. In Massachusetts, MassHealth is redetermining the eligibility of its 2.4 million members during its unwinding period from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024.
The goal of this website and the monitoring project is to help MassHealth beneficiaries understand their rights during the redetermination process and how to maintain their coverage. It provides tools to help advocates identify when a MassHealth termination is erroneous and what they can do to help their clients regain coverage. We are also encouraging members and advocates to use the website to share their experiences so MLRI can monitor issues that are standing in the way of successful redeterminations and raise them with state officials in order to find a solution.