An important message to our Members:

Due to the current Corona Virus (Covid-19) situation, we are doing everything in our power to support our membership during these unprecedented and difficult times.
Although we are currently “closed” and following ECHS, State and CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of this illness, we are staffed and available to help you via phone Monday through Friday from 8:00am – 4:00pm.

Some of the services we are providing include but are not limited to:

  • Someone to talk to if you are anxious, lonely or need help
  • A free resource for microwavable meals, limited groceries, toiletries and paper products delivered to your home if you are unable to access groceries by car, ACCS / PACT / family / or other services/resources
  • Assistance with entitlements
  • Assistance with tax preparation
  • Information and referral to helpful resource

We are also exploring building a social media platform so members can support one another and “hang out” safely.  We are only a phone call away: (781) 202-3478
In the meantime, here are some links that include information on preventing infection, knowing the signs of infection and other helpful information:


From the CDC:

Your Mental Health: Managing Anxiety & Stress


Online Activities to help cope with stress / anxiety / boredom
(Thank you to Kayla Alley for forwarding these!)


Social Security Resources and Help:

Effective March 17, 2020 Social Security Offices will be closed to the public. Critical services will still be provided by phone and on-line including: retirement; disability and Medicare benefits, checking on status of an application or appeal, requesting a replacement Social Security card; print a benefit verification letter, and more. For more specific information on Social Security goto: https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/

Having a “My Social Security” account makes it easy to do on-line transactions and communicate with Social Security. If you would like help creating a “My Social Security” account, please contact us – we are happy to help!

Dept. of Transitional Assistance Update (SNAP and cash benefits):
**There will be no SNAP benefit reductions or terminations during the state of emergency.

 [The following information was taken from a shared email notification from MLRI on Tuesday March 17, 2020]

Subject: [Benefits] DTA stopping all cash negative case actions during the COVID-19 crisis

The following specifically relates to cash assistance. There are similar policies for SNAP.

No negative case actions for current cases. DTA is stopping all negative cash assistance case actions during the emergency.  This means that no one should be terminated or reduced for any reason-- including sanctions, failure to verify, reaching the time limit, etc.  DTA has not yet worked out what to do about clients who are already under sanction.

New applications. People can now do a phone application by calling the local office. The page with "how to apply" has a link to the local office by town. DTA is closed today but hopes to have a skeleton staff in the local offices soon who can process the applications.  The elimination of negative case actions is expected to free up enough workers to process the applications….It is expected that there will be a skeleton staff at the document processing center. Where possible, try to use DTAConnect to upload documents. 

Clients who need an increase in benefits, for example because they have to stay home from work or because someone has joined the household.  For now, try the Ombuds or the local office. 

Appeals.  Hearings will be by telephone only.  If that is a problem, let us know. No negative case action will be taken on appeals but it is not yet clear if the appellant will be liable for aid pending appeal. It is also not clear yet what to do for clients who are not getting aid pending appeal.

Let us know if you see problems.  We will get back to you when we have more information.

Note that DTA workers and most managers have no remote access to BEACON so most DTA workers will not be working during the crisis. Those who are working will be a few non-union management staff and volunteers from the union.  It is a good time to be especially appreciative of them.  More resources and information from DTA

Housing and Corona Virus News:
At this time, short term legislation is being created both at State and Federal levels to prevent homelessness due to the Corona virus. It is recognized that many individuals and families live paycheck to paycheck, and may be temporarily losing their jobs / income and unable to make mortgage or rent payments. During the state of emergency, there will likely be a moratorium on most housing evictions and foreclosures. For more information go to NLIHC.org

In Conclusion…
We will continue to provide helpful updates on our website as soon as they become available. In the meantime, feel free to call us if we can assist you in anyway: 781-202-3478

Stay Healthy, Stay Safe, and remember…this too shall pass!

We look forward to seeing you again as soon as it is safe to do so!

 


EBP staff, Graham preparing to deliver homemade meals to members in the community