Policy Issue

Policy Watch: "SNAP Gap" Addressed Through Streamlined Application Process

August 15, 2022

A recent change at the state level can help folks more easily access federal benefits for which they are eligible. Now when a Massachusetts resident renews their MassHealth benefits, they can opt to have their information forwarded to the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to begin an application for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Employees of DTA can then conduct outreach to gather any additional information needed to complete the SNAP application. This is the latest of several initiatives by the state over the past two years to streamline benefit program applications and address food insecurity.

The SNAP Gap in Massachusetts - the number of residents who are enrolled in MassHealth and are likely eligible for SNAP based on their income, compared to the number of residents enrolled in SNAP - is estimated to be around 700,000 people, or about one third of MassHealth recipients statewide.

The SNAP Gap is wider among MetroWest residents, where about 60% of those enrolled in MassHealth, more than 37,000 residents, may be missing out on SNAP benefits according to recent data from DTA. The true counts may be even higher but can't easily be estimated due to slight differences in each program's eligibility criteria for older adults. This recent change is expected to improve the applicant's experience, increase government efficiency, and lower healthcare costs as a result of increased food security.

For more information on this important change, click here.

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