- Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance
- Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services
Media Contact for Massachusetts Departments of Transitional Assistance and Veterans’ Services Partner to Reduce Food Insecurity Among Veterans
Brooke Karanovich, Director of Communications, Department of Transitional Assistance
Boston — Today, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) announced a joint commitment to reduce veterans’ food insecurity in Massachusetts over the next year.
Food insecurity is a serious public health issue that affects nearly 1 in 6 households in the United States. In Massachusetts, there are nearly 365,000 veterans, of which an estimated 24,000 who receive SNAP benefits. A 2015 study, published in Public Health Nutrition, found one in four veterans (~27 %) of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reported problems with food security.
“SNAP is the Commonwealth’s first line of defense against hunger, and we owe it to our veterans to support them,” said Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Jeff McCue. “We’re proud to commit to giving back to the people who gave to our country, and are excited about this partnership with the Department of Veterans’ Services to come up with ways to make sure our nation’s heroes aren’t hungry.”
“The partnership between the Department of Veterans Services and the Department of Transitional Assistance is another example of how Massachusetts leads the nation in serving veterans, “said Department of Veterans Services Secretary Francisco Urena. “The Baker-Polito Administration continues to recognize and honor the sacrifices and commitments made by our veterans. Partnering with DTA, our VSOs and other service organizations will ensure that veterans who now face food insecurity will receive benefits and support so that they need not face a hungry day.”
In conjunction with DVS, DTA has identified key developments that would better support Massachusetts’ veterans. Over the next year, DTA will work with DVS and other partners that serve veterans, including Veterans’ Legal Services and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, to bring these to fruition. These efforts include:
- Recruit Veterans Service Organizations as contracted outreach partners: DTA will forge new partnerships with Veteran Service Organizations, enabling them to help veterans complete SNAP applications, submit verifications, assist with the recertification process, and access the provider end of DTA Connect, the Department’s online and mobile application.
- Host 5 regional trainings on veterans’ food security: DTA will hold 5 regional trainings with agencies and organizations that work with veterans that will seek to improve knowledge of the SNAP application process, as well as eligibility for veterans and how specific veteran benefits may affect SNAP benefits.
- Create a SNAP for Veterans Resource Guide: DTA will create a SNAP for Veterans resource guide to help veterans and organizations understand the SNAP application process and how different veteran benefits may or may not affect SNAP benefits and eligibility.
- Host a resource fair for veterans: DTA will partner with other state agencies and Veterans Service Organizations to host a resource fair for veterans where information on services and benefits available will be shared.
- Participate in Department of Veterans’ Services Annual Conference: DTA will attend the Department of Veterans Service annual conference and host a SNAP Workshop to increase awareness of SNAP benefits among groups that serve them.
DTA administers SNAP on behalf of the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service and serves as a critical first line defense against hunger in the Commonwealth. One in every nine people in Massachusetts including working families, children, elders, and people with disabilities receive SNAP benefits. Of all SNAP households in the state, 72% earn less than the federal poverty limit – or $24,300 for a household of four.