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SNAP Policy Updates: New SNAP Application Forms in Multiple Languages; SNAP Medical Expense Deduction Information from DTA and AARP

 
The NEXT Boston-based SNAP Coalition Meeting is Tuesday, March 25th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House in Boston. The Coalition meeting will include discussion of the Farm Bill and Massachusetts "H-EAT program".  A more detailed agenda will follow.  Meanwhile, we wanted to give you a couple of SNAP Updates.
 
1. SNAP paper applications in multiple languages:  
 
DTA recently revised the SNAP regular application form and SNAP elder application form, and has posted it in English and seven languages: Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Khmer, Vietnamese, and Haitian Creole. To download these paper applications and get other DTA information on the SNAP application process, click https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-snap-benefits-food-stamps. The on-line SNAP application - through the Virtual Gateway - is only in English, as is the My Account Page. 
 
2. SNAP medical expense deduction resources: 
 
Thanks to all who joined MLRI, AARP and CBPP for the March 14th webinar. Special thanks to DTA SNAP Director Phuoc Cao for his participation, to CBPP for hosting and participating in the Webinar and to AARP-MA for their presentation and partnership in SNAP outreach in Massachusetts. We will be posting the webinar soon, but wanted to flag the following resources for SNAP Coalition members who work with seniors and persons with disabilities about the medical expense deduction. 
  • AARP Foundation's terrific flier on SNAP and Medical Expenses, posted on our website under "Additional Materials for Advocates and Clients" HERE and soon to be posted on AARP MA website.  
  • DTA's recently updated "SNAP Medical Deduction Job Aid" with helpful examples of how to average large bills, posted on our website under "DTA Policy" HERE
  • DTA policy guidance from January 2010 which guidance advises DTA staff to both protect client privacy and not ask for too much information about medical expenses. For example, the guidance says that often one month worth of expenses can be sufficient vs asking for a full pharmacy print out. It also notes that a prescription is not required to claim over-the-counter items - again, unless the information provided by the household is considered "questionable."  
  • And here's information on how to become an AARP SNAP Volunteer!  AARP MA is recruiting volunteers to help seniors in Massachusetts apply for SNAP benefits. If you, or someone you know, are available and interested in helping seniors access SNAP, you can get more information about volunteering on the AARP MA web page HERE
3.  Coverage of Governor's Heat and Eat SNAP Policy Decision:
 
Finally. here's a link to yesterday's WBUR/AP story on the Heat and Eat decision.  MA joins 7 states in electing this federal option. Please remember to THANK Governor Patrick for this very important decision. We will keep you posted as DTA issues implementation policy and give an update at Tuesday's Coalition meeting.