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DTA Opens Senior Assistance Office on Jan 22nd. MLRI Infographic on SNAP and Older Adults

MLRI Infographic on SNAP and Older Adults:

Attached​ is a two page info-graphic with key facts about SNAP, food security and low income older adults in Massachusetts. Big thanks to MLRI's AmeriCorps Wesley Chrabasz for his work on this infographic.  Please let Wes know if you have older adults who have been denied or terminated from SNAP or you need help figuring out the correct benefit amounts. ​Contact: wchrabasz@mlri.org​ or 617/357-0700 x 323

SNAP Senior Assistance Office officially opens:

BIG NEWS!  DTA's Senior Assistance Office (SAO) officially opened on Monday.  Yesterday, the SNAP Coalition called the SAO phone line and a LIVE worker answered the phone- Maria.  All 30+ SNAP Coalition members gathered at St Francis House sang "Happy Birthday SAO" to Maria to pass onto her colleagues.  THANK YOU for being there if you sang. And everyone else is welcome to send Birthday wishes to DTA.  Big thanks especially to Kristin Kunes-Rodriquez, Brittany Mangini, Lorraine Ward and Commissioner McCue for all their work on this. DTA will be doing some media related to the SAO roll out likely next week. We will keep you posted and hope you will amplify this through your networks and social media.

 

What you need to know:

  1. SAO phone number (answered by live workers, no IVR prompts!)  1-833-712-8027
  2. Senior SNAP Application - to be used for older adults 60+ and is routed directly to the SAO: English version HERE.  Spanish version HERE  Other languages, click HERE.
  3. Online Guide instructions to SNAP staff on the SAO - including how new applications will be handled, upcoming changes and client examples. We encourage you to take at look at the DTA Online Guide HERE. This is what DTA workers look at daily to figure out how to handle cases.  But also attached is a Word document with the sections of the Online Guide relevant to the new SAO, including some really helpful client examples of how cases should be handled if a senior ends up at a local DTA office or calling the regular DTA Assistance Line. 

​SSA COLA in January:

​This is just a reminder that there was a 2% cost of living adjustment (COLA) in January - impacting SSI and Social Security (RSDI) recipients. Many SNAP households will see a change in their SNAP benefits in February and may be confused about this SNAP change. DTA is adding a recording to the DTA Assistance Line explaining the COLA.  If you get calls from seniors or persons with disabilities, here's a useful link to DTA materials on the COLA including a flier DTA prepared for clients. This is especially important for households that can take steps to maximize their SNAP benefits including by claiming medical expense deductions. DTA did share with us the numbers below on the SNAP households likely to suffer an increase, decrease or stay the same:

Who's affected by the SSA/SSI COLA?

  • 138K SNAP households will see a decrease in SNAP benefits
  • 92K SNAP households may have an increase in SNAP.
  • 37K SNAP households will have no change.

For information on how to maximize SNAP through the medical expense deduction, we've posted a boatload of information HERE.

SNAP COLA to 200% FPL Gross Income Test:

MLRI has updated the online SNAP Calculator with the increase in the 200% gross income test. Online calculator is HERE.  

For a table of the FPL COLA levels (100% thru 300% FPL) broken down by week, month and year, check it out HERE

Reminder: Most SNAP applicants and recipients have to meet the 200% FPL gross income test first, in order to qualify for SNAP, not the 130% FPL. (Next is the net income test and benefits amount). Some households who are under a "sanction" must meet the 130% FPL gross income test, and there is not gross income test for elder/disabled households, but they must meet the asset test and 100% FPL net income test. But what you mainly need to remember is the 200% FPL gross income test. The Online SNAP calculator only calculates for households under 200% FPL,.