We are looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday, June 22nd for our next SNAP Coalition meeting (10 to 11:30 AM). We will have important updates on a whole host of issues including DTA local office “reopening” plans, emergency allotments, summer P-EBT and more. DTA will also be present.
1. Governor Baker and DTA protect SNAP Emergency Allotments!
We are relieved to share today’s good news that Governor Baker has issued a modified public health declaration order that allows Massachusetts to continue issuing the SNAP Emergency Allotments (EAs) (the $95 or more boost). Federal law requires both a state and federal public health emergency declaration to be in place in order to issue the EAs. USDA has accepted Governor Baker’s modified public health emergency declaration (effective June 15) as sufficient to continue the EAs. The modified public health emergency declaration is in place until the Governor rescinds it. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has flagged the Biden Administration will likely continue the federal public health declaration through the end of 2021, and will tell states 60 days before ending the federal declaration.
MLRI and partner organizations urged the Baker Administration to ensure the public health declaration changes qualified to continue to the critical EAs - And they have come through! See DTA’s tweet announcement about this here.
The EAs are separate from the 15% boost in benefits – that 15% boost is in place through September 2021, unless Congress acts to extend it.
It is critical that all SNAP households maximize all income deductions (shelter costs, childcare, medical expenses, child support paid out) so that a) SNAP households get all the SNAP they are eligible for with the EAs and b) so that SNAP benefits are maximized as much as possible when the EAs end. For an overview and more information on the deductions, see MLRI’s brief slides here.
2. DTA Assistance Line – MLRI phone tree of changes
Many thanks to Aparna, MLRI’s AmeriCorp, for creating this useful tool showing the current phone tree layout for the overhauled DTA Assistance Line.
In general, MLRI is thrilled about the overhaul to the Assistance Line – however, we are concerned about the lack of up front information about how callers can apply for DTA benefits by phone. We recommend that callers seeking to do a phone application press “7” in the initial menu to be connected to a worker to do the phone application.
3. Important national child nutrition sign on letters – Deadline June 21!
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) has extended the deadline for two really important organizational sign-on letters urging the Biden Administration and Congress to support both Healthy School Meals for All and Nationwide Summer EBT. We are hoping to get as many Massachusetts organizations as possible to sign on to BOTH letters. Please let MLRI know if you have any questions!
· Sign-on by June 21 to Support Healthy School Meals for All
· Sign-on by June 21 to Urge Congress to Permanently Extend Summer EBT Nationwide
4. USDA urges state to prioritize Black and Latinx households, students, immigrants and veterans
We wanted to be sure you saw a recent FRAC Chat highlights new USDA guidance encouraging state agencies to tap federal matching funds to conduct SNAP outreach activities, with priority placed on reaching Black and Latinx households, college students, immigrant households, mixed-status families, and military veterans.