Policy Priorities

Common Application to Close the Gaps

H.1290/S.761

An Act to Streamline Access to Critical Public Health and Safety-net Programs through Common Applications

This bill is sponsored by Jay D. Livingstone and Sal N. DiDomenico

Overview

Over 700,000 residents of Massachusetts are estimated to be eligible for SNAP, but are not currently enrolled. An additional 22,000 families receive SNAP benefits, but have zero income even for cash assistance. An Act to Streamline Access to Critical Public Health and Safety-Net Programs Through Common Applications would ease the process for Massachusetts families in need of healthcare, food assistance, cash assistance, and support for other basic needs. Many of these safety net programs require the duplication of information based on different needs which creates more work for both the state and those seeking services

The Common application for federal nutrition benefits would lay the foundation for other needs-based programs including childcare and housing subsidies, fuel assistance, needs-based healthcare, nutrition and shelter benefits. It would also remove barriers for low-income households in meeting their basic needs and increase access to federal nutrition dollars. 

About the bill

This bill would:

  1. Allow both MassHealth and Medicare Savings Program applicants with incomes under 200% federal poverty apply for SNAP at the same time. 

  2. Requires the state to take steps toward creating a "common application" for other needs-based programs like child care, housing, fuel assistance. 

  3. Requires the Department of Transitional Assistance to apply for DTA cash assistance at the same time as SNAP.