Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Nutrition

 

SNAP EA Resources updated 1/13/23 pdf version

March 2, 2023 is the last day households will receive SNAP emergency allotments (EA). In April, SNAP households will receive their regular SNAP awards, a significant decrease of at least $95/month. This is a federal decision and cannot be appealed.

Since this significantly impacts over 240,000 older adults in Massachusetts, MCOA created this guide for councils on aging to use and share. Found on the nutrition page of MCOA’s website, it can be directly accessed at SNAP EA Resources. If you have any questions, contact Tara Hammes at tara@mcoaonline.com or 413-923-2160.

Action Steps

  1. Maximize SNAP benefits if:
  • medical costs are over $35 a month for anyone in their SNAP household who is 60 or older or has a disability. Use this form to list your out-of-pocket medical expenses. Right now, you can self-declare monthly medical costs up to $190 monthly (no itemized list is necessary). Payments to one’s local ASAP for home care services can be included.
  • housing costs have gone up (rent/mortgage)
  • if one is working, looking for work, or in school, tell DTA about any child or disabled adult care costs
  • you are eligible for Medicare Savings Program (Medicare buy-in) to cover Part B ($164.90)

Residents can use DTAconnect.com, call the DTA Assistance Line at 877-382-2363, visit a local DTA office, or work with one of the department’s over 100 SNAP outreach partners.

  1. Create a tailored food resource guide using MCOA’s Nutrition Community Checklist
  1. Visit average SNAP and hunger cliff data to learn how many older adults will be affected in your community. These will be updated with December 2022 data soon.
  1. Encourage SNAP recipients to use their Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) funds monthly. Monthly HIP funds can be up to $40, $60 or $80 (depending on household size) to buy fruits and vegetable. Unlike SNAP, they do not roll over. Enrollment in HIP is automatic for SNAP recipients.
  1. Learn about reclaiming skimmed SNAP benefits and share this experience with/receive updates from Massachusetts Law Reform Institute by completing this form or emailing vnegus@mlri.com. Encourage recipients to re-PIN their EBT each month to protect from theft of benefit.
  1. Attend an information session on how become a SNAP outreach partner. Partners, remember to claim SNAP EA outreach activities on your quarterly submissions.
  1. Know that the 2023 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cost of living increase is 8.7%, and will impact SNAP monthly awards.
  1. Know that Veterans or survivors may be entitled to additional benefits through changes and expansions under the PACT Act.
  1. Become familiar with DTA communications. DTA will issue texts, letters, etc. to help communicate these updates. Uses these example to confirm validity with older adults and share widely.

Additional Resources

  • Community Food Resources: call or text Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline, 1-800-645-8333
  • If you have children under age five, you may be eligible for WIC: Mass.gov/WIC or call 800-942-1007
  • All K-12 students can get free school meals this school year
  • Rent or mortgage help: Call 2-1-1 or go to Mass.gov/covidhousinghelp
  • Fuel Assistance help paying for heat: go to Toapply.org/MassLIHEAP or call 800-632-8175
  • Money to help pay for the internet or a computer: GetInternet.govAccedeAInternet.gov
  • Get help with 2022 taxes and any COVID stimulus or Child Tax Credit money you are owed: FindYourFunds.org
  • If you have children/are pregnant and have no income or low income, you may be able to get TAFDC cash benefits. If you are 65 or older or disabled with no or very low income you may be able to get EAEDC cash benefits. Learn more/apply: DTAConnect.com

More Information: Review the new website Mass.gov/ExtraCOVIDSNAP for more details on planning for the end of these temporary federal benefits.

 

Nutrition News You Can Use – Organized by month, MCOA’s Simmons University nutrition intern, Suzanne Reasenberg, provides summaries of nutrients, disease prevention methods and health observances. COAs are welcome to copy and paste all or parts of the information provided. This includes the color photos (and credits) available at the end of each article. Shorten the copy to fit in your newsletter! Grab a bullet or two to use on social media! Use that month’s message with programming activities! Use them sporadically or all in a year-long series.

SNAP Max Purchase Power – SNAP emergency allotments continue. As the Federal Public Health Emergency Declaration continues, so do SNAP emergency allotments (EAs) providing additional funds to households. It’s not too late to apply to SNAP and receive these additional amounts. Here is an example of how much the maximum SNAP award can buy. Download the flyer here.

SNAP EBT skimming – Thank you to Massachusetts Law Reform Institute for this update: Unfortunately, we are continuing to hear from SNAP households who have had their SNAP benefits stolen following skimming of their card information by thieves. Attached is a flyer describing the issue and sharing information about what victims can do. We also have information on MassLegalHelp here. If you work with anyone who you think has had their SNAP stolen, please let MLRI (Pat, Vicky, or Betsy – bgwin@mlri.org) know as soon as possible. SNAP users in Lawrence will have their PINs deactivated starting on October 26 and then be able to re-PIN and use their cards. See DTA’s overview here or our past eblast here with more information about what is happening, why it is happening, and the scope of families who are impacted. We also have a short tweet thread with an overview. We worked with DTA on a one-page Retailer Scam Flyer in English and Spanish – with the goal of having retailers post this flier in their store and in check out lines. We are very worried that folks will not know there is an issue and they need to rePIN until they are in the checkout line. Please share this resource ASAP with your local retailers in Eastern Massachusetts. When an EBT card without a PIN is used, an error message will appear for the cashier, flagging that the issue is a missing PIN. We aren’t 100% sure if this will happen with all point-of-service devices, but this may be a good way for cashiers to flag if a transaction with an EBT card was denied because the customer needs to re-PIN (vs. another issue with their benefits/the card).

Average SNAP Awards by City/Town (age 60, single, living alone)
NEW: Hunger cliff numbers by city/town (older adults who will lose supplemental benefits with the end of public health emergency declaration) as of May 2022
NEW: May 2022*
January 2022*
July 2021*
January 2021*
July 2020*
February 2020
Year-over-year data (Excel)
 *figures do not reflect temporary supplemental COVID-19 benefits

With COVID-19 supplemental SNAP payments sunsetting, maximize your benefits by including all medical deductions. Use this SNAP medical deductions checklist to guide you.

 

Cooking as Self-Care – Considering all we went through in 2020, it is MCOA’s hope these sessions provide some relief from older adult malnutrition and social isolation. Your feedback is welcome along the way. Encourage your local community access channel to schedule the Cooking as Self Care (CASC) segments. Each show runs under 30 minutes and can be found and downloaded from Massachusetts Media eXchange (MMX). MMX is a video sharing platform hosted by MassAccess for the use of community media stations across the Commonwealth. For more information, visit https://www.massaccess.org/mmx/

Cooking as Self Care 2021 Full Schedule
January video, recipe handout, MA-Grown Produce Availability Calendar
February video, recipe handout, African Heritage Diet food list, African Heritage Diet brochure, Bowl Template, MA-Grown Produce Availability Calendar
March video, recipe handoutMA-Grown Produce Availability Calendar
April video, recipe handout, Blue Zones meal planner, Food Safety and Eating Out, Global Foods for a Healthy Plate
May  
MCOA 2020 Fall Conference – Cooking as Self Care recipe

 

 

Assorted Resources:

Grandfamilies/Kinship Families Federal Nutrition Fact Sheet

Nutrition Community Checklist Self-Assessment

Considerations for Senior Nutrition Programs, Signage & Communication Resources, Resources List.

Nutrition and Brain Health Membership Meeting 2.10.21

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 (Chapter 6 Older Adults, p.121)

Stepping up Your Nutrition (SUYN) – This 30-minute online SUYN Leader training will provide you with the skills and resources to educate and motivate community-dwelling older adults to prevent or lower their malnutrition risk, identify malnutrition risk and refer at-risk older adults to community-based resources. After completing the online training, SUYN Leaders will be able to deliver the interactive workshop for older adults. Get trained now and run the program virtually during the pandemic or in person in the future!  Contact tara@mcoaonline.com for coupon code to cover the cost of the training, program and marketing materials for 1-2 people per COA.

Shelf-Stable Food Box List

NIMBLE Study

Statewide Nutrition Program 6.24.2020 – Slide DeckCommunity Scan

MA Commission on Malnutrition Prevention Among Older Adults annual reports: 2020 Annual Report, 2019 Annual Report, 2018 Annual Report

Defeat Malnutrition Today (DMT):

DMT website, Policy Agenda

DMT National Blueprint

DMT EOY 2021 report

 

 

All Things Nutrition

Massachusetts Councils
on Aging

116 Pleasant Street, Suite 306
Easthampton, MA 01027
 
Telephone: 413-527-6425
Fax: 413-527-7138