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FAQ on the impact of the Proposed SNAP change lowering the utility allowance - MA to lose nearly $100M in SNAP/year; Strategy conference call 11/12/19

USDA has issued a proposed rule change affecting how states calculate utility costs in the SNAP math. This confusing "standard utility allowance rule" change is very dangerous: Thousands of Massachusetts SNAP households could lose as much as $50/month.  Elder and disabled households are especially harmed. MA could lose $98M a year in SNAP federal dollars, a bigger fiscal impact on MA that other proposed rules. 
We know you are exhausted from submitting comments in opposition to USDA's multiple efforts to cut SNAP benefits. We thank you profusely for all you have done.  We need your help - again!   
  • Attached is our FAQ that gives you high level information on the potential impact of the USDA proposed regulation in their proposal to cut the value of the SNAP utility allowance. 
  • MLRI is hosting a conference call on Tuesday, November 12 from 11 AM to 11:45 AM.  The goals of this Conference Call include a short overview of USDA's most recent proposed rule to lower the SNAP utility deduction value, the impact on Massachusetts households, how to submit comments and information you can share in your comments. We will also share data sources you can use to highlight the cost of key utilities in your area and sample templates.  Deadline to submit comments to USDA: December 2nd.
Many of you can likely repurpose the written comments you filed in September in opposition to the SNAP "Broad Based Cat El rules" - including the data you cited rei the importance of SNAP to your clients/local communities, the harm of cutting SNAP benefits, the lack of alternate food resources (food pantries etc) to pick up the loss of SNAP.  We have uploaded many of the BBCE SNAP comments that groups shared with us HERE.   
TO register for the SNAP Utility Allowance Strategy Conference Call, REGISTER HERE by 5 PM, November 8th (Nov 10th is Veterans Day). MLRI will send registrants the conference call in number and some templates in advance of the call. If you have questions please contact Vicky Negus at or Pat Baker. 
SNAP and School Meals:  There is a new but very short deadline to submit more comments to USDA specific to how the "Cat El" changes will impact free school meal status.  USDA has now admitted that the "Cat El" SNAP reg changes will harm up to 1M children across the nation who may lose access to automatic free school meals. This will also impact school districts that provide universal free meals.  See FRAC information and comment portal here:   Please let MLRI know if you need help filing comments on that.  Deadline is November 1st.   Project Bread also available to advise. We need school districts, school nutrition directors and school nurses especially to weigh in there!