Upcoming SNAP/Bay State CAP benefit reductions due to the expiration of SNAP provision in 2009 Federal Stimulus Plan (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act)
Beginning Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, the benefit amount for all households in Massachusetts receiving SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) and Bay State CAP benefits (for those receiving SSI), will be recalculated, leading to lower benefits for most participating households across the state.
The Federal Stimulus Plan, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, increased SNAP and Bay State CAP benefits four years ago on April 1, 2009. The provision for these increased benefits, however, expires on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), the ARRA expiration will reduce SNAP/CAP benefits for nearly every household in the state receiving the assistance—an estimated 460,000 households, 123,000 of which are senior households (defined as having one or more residents who are seniors).
In fiscal 2014, the DTA estimates the impact of the SNAP/CAP reductions in Massachusetts will be a reduction of $95 million (see chart below).
Those affected by the upcoming SNAP/CAP cuts—which depend on household size—will begin receiving notification letters shortly from the DTA. If any SNAP/CAP recipients do not receive this DTA notice, they should contact their local DTA office or call DTA Recipient Services at 1-800-445-6604.
Note: These SNAP /CAP cuts beginning Nov. 1, 2013, are separate from SNAP cuts being debated by Congress as part of the Farm Bill; AARP opposes these cuts to SNAP
To get an estimate of how SNAP/CAP benefit amounts may change, recipients are encouraged to use the DTA online calculator. It’s important to remember, however, that figures generated by the online calculator are estimates only, not actual benefit amounts.
For questions about SNAP and Bay State CAP benefits changes, call the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) at 1-800-445-6604. To find emergency food, call Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.
Deductions that May Increase SNAP/CAP Benefits
It is possible that SNAP and Bay State CAP benefits may be increased if recipients are eligible for the following deductions:
The Dependent Care Deduction is for those who have costs for the care of a child or disabled adult, when the care is needed for the recipient to go to work, search for a job, or participate in a training program. Learn more about the Dependent Care Deduction.
The Medical Expense Deduction is for those who are age 60+ or disabled, and who can verify to DTA that they spend $35 per month or more in out-of-pocket, unreimbursed medical expenses. Learn more about the Medical Expense Deduction.
The Shelter Deduction is for household paying for heating or cooling/AC costs separate from rent (to qualify for the full Standard Utility Allowance in the SNAP math). Learn more about the Shelter Deduction.
NOTE: Recipients should check with DTA to see if they are eligible for any of these deductions.
Resources for Help with SNAP/CAP Benefits and Food Assistance
In addition to the online calculator, those needing more information and/or food assistance should make use of the following resources:
MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSITIONAL ASSISTANCE (DTA)
- DTA Online Calculator - Enter information to get an estimate of how your SNAP benefits may change in November. NOTE: This calculator only provides an estimate, not a precise benefit amount.
- The [Project Bread] FoodSource Hotline: 1-800-645-8333
- Food Resource Guide (English)
- Food Resource Guide (Spanish)