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SNAP Coalition meeting on May 19th; FNS Response on "Recouped" Income; Upcoming SNAP 101 Triage Training in Central MA

The next SNAP Coalition Meeting is TOMORROW, May 19th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House
  
The Coalition meeting will be on the 5th floor. The reason the meeting is tomorrow is that May 26th is the day after Memorial Day weekend).  We are looking forward to seeing you at the meeting. Both DTA and FNS staff are attending this meeting.
 
The AGENDA will include:
  • an update on SNAP defense work at the national level (see FRAC information below)
  • the ongoing discussions with DTA on the SNAP crisis and fixes needed to restore benefits to the thousands of clients erroneously denied or terminated from benefits 
  • monitoring excessive verification demands
  • status of the FNS NERO Program Access Review 
  • continued discussion of the ABAWD cliff (thousands of Massachusetts individuals ages 18-50 who may lose SNAP in early of 2015) and what we can do to prevent termination of the SNAP benefits. 
 
The following information is from our partners at the Food Research Action Center:  If you tweet, please follow the twitter handles below.
  • SNAP Hearing: The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition will hold a hearing May 20th 1:30pm on SNAP, focused on the world of nutrition, government duplication and unmet need. Watch the hearing live and get real time updates at @fractweets and @emv52.
  • #EndHungerNow: Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) highlighted efforts to collect petition signatures to protect SNAP during his May 13th #EndHungerNow speech on the House floor.
  • Take Action to Protect Safety Net: 1) Contact Members of Congress and urge them to oppose any measure that cuts SNAP and other safety net programs; 2) Sign and ask others to sign FRAC's Keep SNAP Strong Petition; 3) Circulate #FillUpYourPlate messages and use other social media strategies to speak out against SNAP cuts.  
  • FRAC's Legislative Priorities: For links to resources on FRAC's legislative priorities and more, go to FRAC's Legislative Action Center.
 
FNS Agrees that DTA Must Stop Erroneously Counting "Recouped" or withheld Social Security Benefits (same rule for recouped UI and VA Pension)
 
We are continuing to hear of cases where DTA is incorrectly counting in the SNAP calculation the income that Social Security is recouping for a Social Security overpayment.  Recouped income from non-means tested programs like Social Security and Unemployment Insurance is NEVER countable as income in the SNAP math. That means DTA should only count the "net" Social Security or "net" Unemployment received by the RSDI or UI recipient.  And the SNAP recipient does not need to "prove" the amount or reason for the SSA or DUA recoupment. DTA has access to that information directly from SSA or the DUA (Department of Unemployment Assistance)!  Further, recouped income from the federal Veterans Pension program, although needs-based) is also not countable income for SNAP.
 
For income recouped in the needs-based SSI program, the state Vets Services (Chapter 115) or the TAFDC and EAEDC cash assistance programs, DTA is allowed to count the recouped benefits but ONLY if the reason for the cash assistance overpayment is a)  due to a program sanction (e.g fraud) and b) the incident triggering the sanction/overpayment happened when the individual was also getting SNAP benefits. Note that it is very rare for SSA to make a "sanction" determination in the SSI program, so please carefully review those cases and contact MLRI if you have that situation.  
 
Attached is a copy of a 4/30/15 letter from the FNS Regional Office to MLRI confirming that recouped RSDI income is non-countable as well as a letter from MLRI  and the Food Bank of Western Mass earlier in April.  Please let us know if you are seeing any of these cases.
 
SNAP Triage 101 Training in Central Mass:  June 12th, 10 AM - 12:30 PM
 

Massachusetts’ SNAP (food stamp) caseload is declining at a rate 9 times the national average, but food pantry demand is spiking. Something is very wrong with this picture - and you can help rectify it!

The Worcester County Food Bank, Central West Justice Center and MLRI are co-hosting a training in Worcester on Friday, June 12th. This training will be similar to the SNAP Triage training held in Boston on April 29th. So, if you missed that, here's another chance to catch up.  This training is being held at the Community Legal Aid conference room, 405 Main Street in Worcester.  

Attached is a flier and information on parking. Below is a link to register on-line. This is a FREE training but you need to register in order to receive materials. For more information, please contact Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies of Central West Justice Center: wnelsondavies@cwjustice.org  
 
 

SignUpGenius...Group Organizing Made Easy

Sign up today for the SNAP Triage 101 scheduled for Friday, June 12, 2015 from 10:00 AM-12:30 PM. See the attached flyer and parking document for more information.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED!

To sign up, go to:
www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0A45AFAD22A6FF2-snap/