We’ve got some important news updates for you and action steps to keep the drum roll on important federal and state legislation.
ACTION: Contact your MOC to End the ABAWD SNAP Time Limit Rule & Defend the Build Back Better Act!
First, we need your help getting the entire MA Congressional Delegation signed onto Rep Barbara Lee’s bill, House Bill 1753, to END the SNAP 3-month time limit. Reps Pressley, McGovern and Trahan are currently co-sponsors and Rep Seth Moulton confirmed today he is signing on. Special thanks to Sarah Grow and The Open Door for reaching out to Moulton!
Please urge your Member of Congress (MOC) to co-sponsor this bill. We need 100% of the MA Delegation saying NO to SNAP time limits. Once the federal Public Health Emergency declaration ends, this unfair and mean-spirited rule may raise its ugly head again in MA and across the nation. See FRAC’s blog on why Rep Lee’s bill is SO important!
Second, please also THANK your MOC for their support of the Child Nutrition provisions in the Build Back Better Act and urge them to HOLD FIRM on the funding and provisions. FRAC's "Hungry Children Can't Wait" blog includes an excellent summary of the child nutrition provisions that need to get passed.
ACTION: Calling all Social Workers to sign Letter to Pass the SNAP Gap/Common Apps Legislation!
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) MA chapter is leading the charge to get the Health Care Finance Committee to give a favorable report to the Common Apps/SNAP Gap Legislation, House Bill 1290/Senate Bill 761. This would move the bill to Ways and Means, and then the House and Senate Floor.
As of this eblast, 285 MA Social Workers and Social Work grad students have signed on! If you are a social worker or social work student, please SIGN ON here. The new deadline is now Sunday, November 7th (not 11/3).
Urban Institute’s Interactive Map on Average Cost of a Moderate Meal – SNAP benefits still fall short in Mass!
We want you to see this powerful interactive map created by the Urban Institute that tracks the cost of a moderately priced meal in every county in the US, compared with the average SNAP benefit of $2.38/meal following the October 1st Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) increase. MA is one of the most expensive states in the nation to live in, and the cost of food continues to rise. This is exactly why we need to continue to protect and defend SNAP, maximize household deductions where possible and support further increases in the SNAP allotments beyond the Thrifty Food Plan including Rep Alma Adam’s Close the Meal Gap legislation!
Join FRAC/Propel Webinar November 9th: Tapping SNAP Households Surveys to Help Inform Policy
FRAC and Propel (Formerly Fresh EBT) will be presenting Propel’s latest results of SNAP household survey responses on their experiences during COVID-19, including on their challenges paying for food, housing, utilities, and other basics. Propel will share the October responses to its survey of SNAP customers who use Propel’s free app, currently used by over 5 million Americans across the country to manage their SNAP benefits.
Since March 2020, Propel has surveyed SNAP households twice a month, in every state, to better understand how circumstances in their lives are changing: tracking everything from food insecurity and housing to receipt of economic impact payments and unemployment insurance/ The free webinar is on Tuesday, November 9th at 3 PM EST. Register for the webinar HERE. To learn about Propel, visit joinpropel.com
BPS Helping to Connect Families with SNAP, Your School Can Too!
We are very impressed with the recent robo call and email sent by the Boston Public Schools to all BPS families. Attached is a sample email sent to one Boston family. We are hoping more MA School Districts will communicate to their families as well.
Right now all school meals are free. But next school year, families may need to apply for free or reduced-price meal status unless we get universal school meals in MA. Families denied free school meal status in the past may think they are not eligible. Remember - the SNAP financial rules are different from the NSLP financial rules:
· Under SNAP, only the income of certain “mandatory household members” is counted in determining SNAP eligibility. Mandatory members include children under age 22, spouses and persons who purchase and prepare the majority of their food together.
· Under the NSLP rules, the income of all persons living under the same roof – called an “economic unit” – is counted. For doubled up and multi-generational families where all income is counted, this can make children ineligible for free or reduced-price meals. BUT if some members of the “economic unit” get SNAP, the children and their siblings are free meal eligible.
Join the Feed Kids Coalition: In addition to helping more families access SNAP, we strongly urge SNAP Coalition to join Project Bread’s Feed Kids Coalition, calling on the MA Legislature to join CA and ME and pass Universal Free School Meals (House 714/Senate 314) in Massachusetts. Stay tuned for more action steps – but first, join the Coalition!
AGO Resources: Helping Households with Spiking Energy Costs this Winter
With electric and natural gas rates set to rise this winter season, Attorney General Maura Healey is launching a campaign to educate customers about new and expanded programs available to assist them in paying their energy bills. Due to COVID-19 economic uncertainty and volatility in global fossil fuel prices, customers in New England will see a spike in energy prices this winter. Customers who use gas to heat their homes should expect an increase on their monthly bill, and those who use oil could see an even bigger rise. Some customers also will see an increase in their electric bills.
The AGO is distributing widely the multilingual flyers linked below and other resources for customers to contact their utility company to learn about the range of financial assistance programs available to them including remote and in-person presentations on Winter Consumer Protection, Savvy Senior, and Utility & Energy Delivery: A Consumer Warning. Join an AGO webinar by registering here, or can request a presentation to your organization/community members. For more information as well as the upcoming multilingual flyers, you can click here.