Massachusetts lawmakers in the Berkshires are the latest politicians participating in a national anti-hunger campaign to raise awareness about what people on the Federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program face.
The entire Berkshire statehouse delegation, including Representative Gail Cariddi of North Adams, Representative Paul Mark of Peru, Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield, Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli of Lenox, and State Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield, are all currently undertaking the so-called “SNAP challenge.”
The man in charge of administering much of the social services system in Massachusetts is trying to live for a week on a food budget equal to what is provided by a federal assistance program. It is part of a national campaign by anti-hunger groups to highlight the importance of the program at a time when it is threatened with deep cuts.
Massachusetts Interim Commissioner of the state Department of Transitional Assistance visited Pittsfield last night as part of a statewide campaign seeking public input on how to improve integrity and client services in the Commonwealth.
DTA Interim Commissioner Stacey Monahan stopped in Pittsfield Wednesday evening as just one several stops she is making soliciting comments from community members across the state. At the end of the multi-city tour, a report with all the information will be submitted to the legislature and Governor’s office for consideration.
In the wake of a report released earlier this year by the Massachusetts Inspector General suggesting that $25 million may be wasted in the welfare system annually, and following the resignation of former Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance Daniel Curley, recently-appointed Interim Commissioner Stacey Monahan is touring the Bay State holding a series of listening sessions to hear feedback and suggestions from the public on how to improve the DTA system.
The meeting will be held this evening beginning at 6 pm at the Pittsfield Public Library.
A recent report released by the Inspector General of Massachusetts claims that the state’s welfare system could be paying out up to $25 million in fraudulent benefits.
A document released this week by state Inspector General Glenn Cunha studied eligibility information from those benefitting from the state and federally funded Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. The cash assistance program is overseen by the state Department of Transitional Assistance.
As the Massachusetts House is set to begin debate today on a proposed $32 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins in July, anti poverty activists are decrying proposals they claim will erode the social safety net. WAMC'S Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.