SECTION 1. Chapter 118E of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding after Section 77 the following section:-
Section 78 A. In order to improve access to federal nutrition assistance and reduce health care costs due to lack of adequate nutrition, the Division of Medicaid shall offer both applicants and recipients of MassHealth and Medicare Savings Program, also known as MassHealth Buy-In, the option to both (a) initiate an application for federal supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits at the time of application or renewal for medical assistance and (b) authorize the division to submit said application to the department of transitional assistance. The option to apply for nutrition assistance shall be offered to applicants and recipients for medical assistance whose reported gross income is below two hundred percent of the federal poverty level.
With the consent of said applicant or recipient, the division shall share relevant financial and other eligibility information and supporting documentation that may be required to qualify the applicant or recipient for supplemental nutrition assistance benefits. The department of transitional assistance shall promptly inform said applicant of the eligibility requirements and any additional verifications or obligations.
SECTION 2: Chapter 118E of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding after Section 77 the following section:-
Section 78 B. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the executive office of health and human services and the executive office of communities and development shall initiate development of a common application portal for individuals to simultaneously apply for state-administered needs-based benefits and services in coordination with the division of Medicaid, the department of transitional assistance, the department of early education and care, the executive office of education and the department of housing and community development. The common application shall allow individuals the option to apply at the same time for MassHealth coverage, the supplemental nutrition assistance program, income supports under Chapters 117A and 118 of the General Laws, veterans services benefits under Chapter 115 of the General Laws, child care subsidies, housing subsidies, fuel assistance and other needs-based health care, nutrition and shelter benefits.
SECTION 3: Section 2 of chapter 18 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding at the end of section (B) the following: --
(t) ensure that applicants for or recipients of benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program are informed about and have the opportunity to apply for cash assistance benefits under chapter 117A and chapter 118 at the time they file an application or renewal for supplemental nutrition assistance, and that such information about and opportunity to apply for said cash assistance benefits is provided without regard to whether the application or renewal is filed in person, electronically, in writing or by telephone, and without regard to whether the applicant or recipient is assisted by a community organization;
(u) no less than twice in a 12 month period, shall send recipients of SNAP benefits with children age 18 or younger who have no countable income according to the department’s records a notice that (1) states the amount of cash assistance for which the household might be eligible based on its household size and explains how to apply; (2)states that the household may contact its local legal services program for free confidential advice about its eligibility for cash assistance, including but not limited to advice about child support requirements, a previous sanction or termination, immigrant eligibility, and (3) provides the contact information for the local legal services program.
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