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.
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
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.