Data Brief: The Massachusetts SNAP Gap and Social Vulnerability Index
Who’s Losing Out on Federal Nutrition Benefits and How Do We Close the SNAP Gap?
The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, National Association of Social Workers – Massachusetts Chapter, and Health Leads issued this data brief showcasing a data mapping tool that compares the social and economic vulnerability of several Massachusetts communities to the existing “SNAP Gap.”
The report also illustrates how a common application for safety-net programs, particularly for MassHealth and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), could better serve the state’s residents. Ultimately, the brief points to the urgent need to pass An Act to Streamline Access to Critical Public Health and Safety-net Programs through Common Applications (S.761/H.1290), filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) and Representative Jay Livingstone (D-Boston).
The SNAP Gap refers to the more than 700,000 MassHealth recipients (pre-pandemic) who are likely eligible for SNAP but are not receiving these important hunger-preventing benefits. Many families experiencing hunger during the pandemic did not apply for SNAP because they did not think they were eligible or did not know how to apply. A common application that allows our state’s most vulnerable residents to simultaneously apply for MassHealth or the Medicare Savings Program and SNAP could increase awareness of SNAP eligibility among hungry families and simplify the application process.