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Mass. food stamp/SNAP use doubles, but pace of growth is slowing:

DTA has just issued guidance to provide food stamp/SNAP benefits to households that lost food due to the June 1st tornadoes and power outages. DTA has been granted a waiver to provide automated replacement benefits to certain households and is implementing existing state policy to respond to individual requests of households affected by the tornado. Here is a link to Operations Memo 2010-20A.

Highlights:

1. DTA Voter Registration Procedures: DTA recently issued Operations Memo 2011-18 which describes the local DTA office procedures for assisting SNAP and cash assistance applicants who come in person to the DTA office with voter registration. SNAP applicants who are both 18 + and U.S. citizens should be asked if they want to register to vote. If yes, they will be provided with a Mass Official Registration Form. The client can either deliver to the local city or town election office, or that DTA sends in.

As you know from yesterday's Food SNAP Coalition meeting, e-blasts and the news, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) re-designated and extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. Catholic Charities will launch a new round of legal clinics starting this Friday, May 27th. They will add more clinics in Boston (Dorchester) and Brockton over the next week. Please check the Mass Legal Help website for up to date information.

At this AM's Coalition meeting, members discussed a range of cuts to federal programs on the chopping block before Congress. Here is the latest information on proposed cuts to the WIC program including a report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities www.cbpp.org 

Proposed WIC Cuts Would End Food Assistance for 325,000 to 475,000 Low-Income Women and Children

Fifty-one (51) Massachusetts organizations have currently signed onto the national coalition letter in opposition to funding cuts and block granting of SNAP.  THANK YOU MASSACHUSETTS !!!   Below is a list of the 51 Massachusetts organizations. Follow these FRAC links for the letter text, updates on groups on already, sign on information, and backgroundon the FY 2012 Budget.

The May Food SNAP Coalition meeting is tomorrow, May 24th from 10 to Noon at St Francis House in Boston: 39 Boylston Street, 6th Floor.

The AGENDA will include:

The following items may be of interest to Coalition members working with immigrant clients.

The Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee released its proposed budget for FY 2012. The following is a summary of some of the key issues that Coalition members are concerned about relative to the state WIC dollars DTA benefits and services, and MEFAP funding.

On the WIC front:

DTA recently instituted some important changes in the Virtual Gateway SNAP application. The SNAP web application now asks all three screening questions for “expedited” benefits and flags the case for follow-up by the Web Units when an applicant indicates that he or she falls into one of the expedited SNAP benefit categories. The expedited eligibility questions have been on the paper SNAP applications all along, and expedited screening is done for individuals who walk into local DTA offices. The web application, however, lacked these questions in the past few years.