Erroneous SNAP COLA Reduction Notices: We have heard from a couple of SNAP households that the amount of their SUA reductions is woefully incorrect. Please let us know if you see any SNAP recipients who received DTA notices telling their SNAP benefits would be reduced by more than $11 due to the federal cost of living (COLA) change in the standard utility allowance (SUA). Attached below is a redacted sample notice we received from one SNAP recipient advising her that her SNAP benefits would go from $200/month to $52/month. This case was promptly fixed by DTA and the May benefits will indeed be $200, but the reduction letter was alarming to the disabled client, especially since there had been NO change in her SSI income or expenses.
We are tracking down the status of another case, and are very concerned that there may be more SNAP recipients with similar erroneous notices and/or erroneous benefits. It is possible this is due to a BEACON (computer) glitch. DTA Central is more than willing to fix these cases but also wants to determine the "systems" problems in the incorrect notices, which will help them track and fix other cases. Please contact Kelly Love at MLRI if you have any clients whose SNAP reduction notices state the reduction is greater than $11/month. firstname.lastname@example.org or 617/357-0700 x 306
Medical Expense Deduction for MassHealth Recipients: On a SNAP COLA related note - a number of Coalition members have asked us if elder or disabled SNAP recipients who get MassHealth (Medicaid) can claim out of pocket medical expenses to leverage the $90 standard medical deduction. The answer is often YES!! MassHealth does not cover all health care related needs. In fact, last year MassHealth increased the co-pays for prescription medications. Beyond co-pays, MassHealth elder and disabled recipients often have out-of-pocket expenses for over-the-counter health care supplies such as pain relief, antacids, skin creams, incontinence supplies, hearing aid batteries, denture and dental supplies, and more. MassHealth also does not cover the costs of many alternative therapies or herbal remedies, adult day care or assisted living costs. For health care supplies, they need only be recommended by a licensed health care provider to be claimed (and the provider does not need to be an MD). And, remember that all transportation-related costs can be claimed which includes either public transport or the federal mileage rate for a car used to get to health care appointments or to the pharmacy.
For more information on the SNAP medical expense deduction, go to: http://www.masslegalservices.org/node/25695 Do NOT assume that MassHealth recipients cannot get the medical expense deduction. If you are contacted by an elder/disabled person about the recent SNAP decrease, this is an opportune time to screen for medical expenses and have the person report these expenses to DTA as soon as possible!
|SNAP Reduction Notice.pdf||61.6 KB|