By Kate Adams, GBFB Public Policy Manager, and Courtney Fahlin, GBFB SNAP Manager
UPDATE: On March 29, Governor Healey passed a FY23 Supplemental Budget, which includes the continuation of 40% of the extra COVID SNAP benefits for three months past the federal end-date, extends free school meals through the schoolyear, and allocates funds for victims of SNAP benefit theft, otherwise known as “skimming.” The Department of Transitional Assistance quickly authorized these benefits and will issue the first extra state-funded SNAP benefit to clients on Friday, April 7th.
On March 2, 2023, SNAP clients will receive their last extra COVID SNAP benefits, also known as SNAP Emergency Allotments, due to recent action by the federal government. These federal nutrition benefits have been critical to Massachusetts households not only during the height of the pandemic but as food and fuel prices continue to surge.
The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) (the state agency responsible for administering the federal nutrition benefit in the Commonwealth) estimates that Massachusetts SNAP households will lose on average $151 per month and has been working quickly to provide tools and best practices for navigating this challenge. Overall, the state estimates that Massachusetts will lose between $300 and $400 million this year in additional SNAP benefits, which will have an impact on retailers as well as clients.
” Having the added SNAP from Covid has not made me stress about food. I am extremely grateful for the help but am terrified what will happen if it gets lowered.”
This sudden loss of benefits will impact over a million SNAP clients in the Commonwealth, many of whom may turn to emergency food assistance programs, putting further pressure on GBFB and our network of nearly 600 food distribution partners across Eastern Massachusetts. GBFB’s 2022 Food Equity and Access report found that 84% of respondents were worried about being able to afford enough food if the increased SNAP benefits were to stop.
“Having the added SNAP from Covid has not made me stress about food. I am extremely grateful for the help but am terrified what will happen if it gets lowered.” -SNAP client from GBFB’s 2022 Food Access and Equity Statewide Report.
GBFB’s SNAP outreach team is working diligently to provide clients with up-to-date information on how households can maximize their regular SNAP benefits, as well as continuing to screen new clients for eligibility and completing applications over the phone. Information is being made available in multiple languages on social media platforms and on our website.
Our public policy and advocacy team has been communicating with local, state, and federal government offices to share information about the impact of the crisis to our neighbors and how GBFB is tackling the challenge through advocacy, programming, and information sharing. Recently, the team presented alongside several MA Hunger-relief partners at a legislative briefing to state policymakers on the impact on Massachusetts.
If you or someone you know needs help applying for SNAP or has questions about maximizing benefits, contact the SNAP outreach team at 617-598-5022 or email us at email@example.com. If you are in need of food assistance, search for a food pantry by zip code on our Need Food page.
Take action to support Governor Healey’s FY23 Supplemental Budget that includes the continuation of 40% of the extra COVID SNAP benefits for three months past the federal end-date. Call your state representative and state senator and urge them to support the swift passage of this supplemental budget. Find your legislators here!
Learn more about GBFB’s public policy and advocacy priorities for ending hunger in Eastern MA.
Follow this link to the DTA Connect Toolkit which includes digital and printable outreach materials in 15+ languages.