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SNAP Updates: Free Child Care under SNAP ET; New SNAP Policy on Medical Expenses, RMP - and Calls to Congress Needed!

Lots of very positive updates this week! Tune in to Tuesday’s Coalition meeting to learn more!  

 

And don’t forget, Monday, June 27th at 10 AM is the special White House Conference Listening Session with Congressman Jim McGovern for persons with lived experience. You can encourage folks to register HERE to testify, and organizations can also register to listen in.  

 

We also have an URGENT ACTION from our FRAC partners Please call your Members of Congress and urge passage of the Keep Kids Fed Act, H.R. 8150. The bill would provide schools, child care providers, and summer programs additional resources to help them overcome supply chain disruptions, soaring prices for food, transportation and supplies, and rising labor costs. See FRAC alert below. 

Next Tuesday - June 28th SNAP Coalition Meeting 

Our next SNAP Coalition meeting will be next Tuesday, June 28th from 10-11 (a half hour shorter than our normal meetings due to vacation schedules). Here’s the Zoom link.  

In addition to the SNAP updates listed below, the agenda will include a presentation from the Greater Boston Food Bank on their recent and powerful report on food insecurity in MA (check out also their virtual presentation of the data), as well as federal updates, state legislative and budget updates, DTA policy updates and more! 

SNAP families can now get 12 months of free child care!

Parents who participate in a “SNAP Path to Work” program - DTA’s SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP ET) programs for SNAP households - can now get a child care referral for eligible kids under age 13. The referral allows the family to connect to free child care via a voucher. The voucher lasts for 12 months - even if the family begins working during that time. This is huge news for families who struggle with child care cost barriers.  

 

  • To find SNAP Path to Work programs that a family can enroll in, visit SNAPPathtoWork.org

  • To learn more about child care for parents enrolled in a program, see DTA’s overview here and more detailed policy information here

  • And remember, families who get TAFDC can also connect to free child care if they are working or doing a training program

DTA implements self declaration for Standard Medical Expense deduction!

Under the SNAP rules, persons ages 60+ or who receive disability-based benefits can claim medical costs to maximize SNAP. Claiming medical expenses ensures households are getting all the SNAP they are eligible for - both now and in the future when the Emergency Allotments end. (While we do not know when the EAs will end, it will almost certainly not be before November 2022).  

 

DTA has implemented a major, exciting policy change to make this process MUCH easier for older adults and persons with disabilities: SNAP households 60+ and/or getting a disability benefit can self-declare in writing or verbally with DTA their medical costs between $35 and $155 a month. This leverages the standard medical expense deduction. If a household claims costs over $190 ($35 threshold plus $155/mo), all medical costs will need to be verified. 

 

  • For a sense of when the SNAP is impacted by claiming medical costs, see MLRI Benchmarks chart here.

  • DTA’s policy announcement Online Guide 2022-49 is attached, and more details posted in the BEACON 5 Online Guide soon!  

 

This is HUGE!  Many thanks to DTA for pursuing this first in the nation verification waiver with USDA, and thanks to all the Coalition members who advocated for this policy with USDA, especially Mass Senior Action members who shared their personal experiences regarding medical costs with FNS as well as to AARP MA and Mass Councils on Aging (MCOA).

SNAP Restaurant Meals Program - Notice of Opportunity, due August 31

DTA has opened a Notice of Opportunity (NOO) to bring on restaurants and food trucks for the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) pilot. This is a federal option that allows individuals experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities and older adults 60+ to use SNAP at  participating restaurants/food trucks. The first step in making this a live option is to bring restaurants/food trucks on board!

 

Applicants will be evaluated on a number of criteria, including ability to serve SNAP clients with disabilities and commitment and ties to their local communities, including their ability

to serve SNAP clients in culturally appropriate ways. DTA press release is here. To apply, see DTA information here. Deadline is August 31, 2022.  

DTA updates the online DTA scorecard 

DTA has updated the scorecards to include basic information about the 6 most common languages, basic race/ethnicity data, the reasons why people go into local offices, SNAP, TAFDC and EAEDC caseload metrics and more. Check them out!

New SNAP online ordering  stores - Wegmans & McKinnon’s

The addition of these two retailers brings the total number of SNAP online retailers in the program to 11. For more information on the Massachusetts program, visit

Mass.gov/SNAPOnline. And please continue to track any online EBT ordering problems. USDA FNS wants to know what SNAP customers are experiencing.

 

SNAP families categorically eligible for Head Start 

 

Recently, the federal government announced that SNAP recipients are now categorically eligible for Head Start programs- meaning they qualify without having to meet separate criteria. DTA is including Head Start flyers and information with the P-EBT notices going to families with children under the age of six. (P-EBT for kids under 6 on SNAP from Sept - Nov 2021 will go out on 6/25). 

 

FRAC Action Alert on Keep Kids Fed Act, H.R. 8150.

 

 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this email stated that The Keep Kids Fed Act would increase the school breakfast reimbursement by 10 cents. It would actually increase the reimbursement by 15 cents. 

Urgent Action Needed: Call Your Members of Congress and Urge Passage of The Keep Kids Fed Act, H.R. 8150

In response to immense pressure from advocates across the country, Congress – in a rare bipartisan and bicameral effort – is moving to help mitigate the impact of the loss of the child nutrition waivers (due to expire on June 30, 2022). The Keep Kids Fed Act, H.R. 8150, introduced by Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) and House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC), is an important first step that would increase reimbursements to schools and child care centers, support access to summer meals, allow children who are eligible to receive reduced-price school meals to receive free school meals, and streamline access to healthy meals for children in family child care. (Read FRAC's press release).

Congress must pass this legislation quickly to support access to summer meals and child care this summer. The bill would provide schools, child care providers, and summer programs additional resources to help them overcome supply chain disruptions, soaring prices for food, transportation and supplies, and rising labor costs. 

Call your Members of Congress Today

Now is the time to weigh-in with your Congressional Delegation. Call your Senators, then call your House Member and urge them to “Vote Yes” on The Keep Kids Fed Act, a bill that will begin to provide much-needed relief to providers and families across the country. To easily connect with your Congressional delegation, call the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121. 

Background: The Senate is aiming to use a special process, Unanimous Consent, which literally requires all 100 Senators to allow a bill to move forward; one “nay” vote could derail the entire process. It is imperative that every Senator be urged to allow this bill to move forward due to the looming deadline of the child nutrition waivers (June 30, 2022).  Once the Senate passes the bill, it will quickly move to the House of Representatives where the bill could also move by an expedited process known as “Suspension.”

Provisions in The Keep Kids Fed Act

  1. Extends USDA’s authority to issue Summer Nutrition waivers through September 30, 2022; meal pattern waivers through June 30, 2022, and non-cost nationwide waivers through school year 2022-2023.  
  2. Increases the school breakfast reimbursement by 15 cents and the school lunch reimbursement by 40 cents. 
  3. Allows children eligible for reduced-price school meals to receive free school meals. 
  4. Extends the Area Eligibility waiver allowing family child care homes to receive the higher Tier 1 reimbursements through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Streamlines access to healthy meals for children in family child care homes by extending the area eligibility test waiver.  This year, one of the most pressing problems is that schools do not have the income data needed to establish area eligibility.  In addition, this test is not an effective mechanism, it misses many providers serving low-income children, especially in rural and suburban areas.  
  5. Increases CACFP Reimbursements by 10 cents for each meal and snack for child care providers and afterschool programs.  This will help to stem participation declines, support good nutrition, and provide relief for struggling child care to cope with supply chain and cost issues. These enhanced reimbursements will make it more affordable to provide the healthy foods required by CACFP. These healthy CACFP meals and snacks for young children in child care are essential to supporting good health and development.   

Get Vocal on Social!

Use this sample message to get the word out!

Hungry children can't wait! Call the Capitol switchboard today to urge  your Members of Congress to quickly pass the bipartisan legislation, the Keep Kids Fed Act (H.R. 8150). Read @fractweets statement https://bit.ly/3yaLi0i

Please keep in touch with any intel you garner from your calls. Contact Tim Klipp-Lockhart (tklipp-lockhart@frac.or), Vijay Das (vdas@frac.org), or Ellen Teller (eteller@frac.org).

Food Research & Action Center
1200 18th Street, NW Suite 400 | Washington, District of Columbia 20036
(202) 986-2200 | shayward@frac.org

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