MassINC’s latest poll on food insecurity confirms what we already know: The application process for food assistance is confusing and cumbersome for hungry families across Massachusetts (“Survey finds significant food insecurity,” Metro, June 25). COVID-19 has exacerbated the disparate impact of poverty and exposed the urgent need to end hunger.
For the past two years, we have advocated for legislation filed by state Senator Sal N. DiDomenico and Representative Jay D. Livingstone that would connect more people to food assistance by closing what is known as the “SNAP gap.” This gap represents the more than 700,000 residents enrolled in MassHealth who are eligible for but not receiving food assistance benefits through the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the most effective anti-hunger program in the country.
A common application that allows people to simultaneously apply for MassHealth and SNAP would reduce duplicate data collection, increase government efficiency, and help thousands of residents meet their basic needs. When Massachusetts residents receive SNAP, those dollars go right back into our local economies.
The MassINC survey findings underscore the need to break down these bureaucratic silos and allow hungry residents to access the food assistance benefits they need and deserve. It is imperative that the Legislature acts quickly to pass this measure into law.
Common App Coalition
On the coalition, Baker represents the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Klufts the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.