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SNAP Coalition Meetings Reminders 9/18 (WMass) and 9/22 (Boston); Updated SNAP Calculation Worksheet for Oct 1st

This is a REMINDER of the September SNAP Coalition Meetings and Elder SNAP Training. 
The Western MA Coalition SNAP meeting is tomorrow, Sept 8th, from 10 to Noon at the Food Bank of Western MA in Hatlfield.  Please contact Mary Loughlan if you are not on her WMass eblast list for this meeting.  The 9/18 agenda will include presentations on federal and state issues, SNAP and school meals - from FRAC, DTA, MLRI and FBWM staff. 
The Boston SNAP Coalition Meeting is Tuesday, September 22nd from 10 to Noon at St Francis House in Boston. The tentative AGENDA will include:
  • Update on federal SNAP issues including changing landscape in Congress 
  • October 2015 SNAP benefits decline due to drop in energy costs (DTA reports that the SNAP decline will now affect 152K SNAP households, mostly seniors - a lower number but still significant)
  • Update on medical expense deduction outreach, review of recent DTA guidance to field on verification of expenses
  • Recent DTA systems changes for handling Virtual Gateway applications, changes to the DTA Assistance Line "waiting room", discussion of fax problems and other issues you are seeing
  • Update on upcoming 3 month time SNAP limit staring Jan 2016 - impacting ABAWDs (able-bodied without dependents) on establishing exemptions and identifying E&T and volunteer opportunities
  • Recommendations to improve DTA's "Performance Scorecard" 
  • State Legislative campaign seeking common application, expanded SNAP outreach, reductions in "churning" 
  • Update on efforts to expand universal free meals (community eligibility provision), and what you can do in your local communities to continue to encourage schools to elect CEP.  
SNAP Calculator Worksheets and Sample Calcs:  Included in this email is an updated SNAP worksheet for October 1st, that includes the changing SNAP math. The shelter deduction has increased to $504, the "standard deduction" for households of 4 or more has increased. The 130% FPL gross income test (for non-disabled, non-elder individuals) has increased. The standard utility allowances (SUAs) have gone DOWN. Again, DTA projects that the SUA reduction will trigger SNAP reductions of $4-$5 for over 152K households, mostly elder and disabled households.
Also included, some updated SNAP calculations with the new (October 1st) SUA amounts for households with seniors and persons with disabilities.  
Training Reminder:  Helping Seniors and Persons With Disabilities Obtain and Maximize Food Stamp Benefits - September 25th
MLRI and the Greater Boston Food Bank are teaming up with ABCD and the City of Boston to provide you a FREE training to help you understand the basics on how DTA is handling SNAP applications via a new business model and how you can help seniors & persons with disabilities navigate this new system; how to help seniors and persons with disabilities maximize benefits through medical expenses; and ways to figure out if clients are having a difficult time using their SNAP benefits for food shopping. 
Friday, September 25th, 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon

Cass Room, 3rd Fl. ABCD 178 Tremont St. Downtown Boston

This training is co-sponsored by the ABCD Food Dollars Program, the City of Boston Commission on Affairs of the Elderly, the Greater Boston Food Bank and Mass Law Reform Institute.  The training is FREE but registration is required. Click on THIS LINK to REGISTER  If you have questions or need other information, contact  Roxanne Reddington-Wilde,