This week I had the opportunity to host a briefing with Rep. Hannah Kane and the Food System Caucus, on the projected end of the SNAP emergency allotments for Massachusetts residents.
The briefing was provided by core anti-hunger organizations across Massachusetts including Children’s HealthWatch, the Food Bank of Western MA, Greater Boston Food Bank, Worcester County Food Bank, Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Project Bread, and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI).
The COVID-related Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) extra benefits or “Emergency Allotments” will be last issued to Massachusetts SNAP households on March 2.
These extra SNAP benefits have been issued to SNAP households by the federal government since the onset of COVID in March 2020. For the Commonwealth, this will end roughly $90 million per month in federal nutrition benefits, affecting 640,000 households. I know the loss of these extra benefits will have a significant and deeply felt impact on families, households, communities, and food assistance providers across the Commonwealth.
The briefing recording can be found here and includes important information on how to minimize the loss of these benefits and access critical alternative food programs.
Please know that you can also always reach out to me with questions, concerns, and for help accessing SNAP and other critical benefits.
Some important reminders from the briefing:
- If you receive SNAP benefits, informing the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) of any changes in your income or personal costs is critical. You can do so by phone (DTA Assistance Line: 877-382-2363, Senior Assistance Office: 833-712-8027) or in a handwritten note via DTAConnect, fax, mail, or in-person at a local DTA office.
- If you or someone you know has been a victim of skimming (theft of SNAP dollars), report your case to the DTA Fraud Line: 800-372-8399. Governor Healey’s upcoming supplemental budget also proposes $2 million to replace SNAP dollars for victims of skimming.
- Go to Mass.gov/ExtraCOVIDSNAP for more information on the end to extra benefits and how to maximize your SNAP benefits.
And critical resources:
- Project Bread prevents hunger by making it easier for everyone in Massachusetts to access and afford food with dignity. Their FoodSource Hotline 1-800-645-8333 provides a comprehensive list of available resources and SNAP application assistance in 180 languages.
- The Food Bank of Western MA offers many important resources:
- Find a food pantry, meal site, or Mobile Food Bank: https://www.foodbankwma.org/get-help/food-pantry-meal-program-schedule/
- SNAP Assistance line: 413-419-0079 https://www.foodbankwma.org/get-help/snap-outreach-enrollment/
- Brown Bag: Food for Elders (55+): https://www.foodbankwma.org/get-help/brown-bag-food-for-elders/
- Worcester County Food Bank information and resources can be found here: https://www.foodbank.org/find-food