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Getting SNAP

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Get SNAP

What's SNAP?

SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, our country’s most powerful nutrition program. Every person who applies for SNAP— and is eligible— will receive it! Once enrolled, you will receive a monthly cash benefit on an EBT card that can be used just like a debit card for food shopping.

Here's what makes SNAP so special and unlike any other food assistance program in the country:

Getting Started

If you are a Massachusetts resident, call Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline now at 1-800-645-8333 to learn if you qualify for monthly financial assistance for groceries through SNAP. 

Am I Eligible?
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This is a complicated question. There is not one single guideline that determines if a person is eligible for SNAP. If you could use help affording food or have recently lost your job or hours due to COVID-19, you should definitely find out if you are. And if you are, you should apply!

    • Eligibility is based primarily on household income and certain expenses. Most applicants will not be asked for proof of money in the bank or other resources.

To learn if you are eligible, call Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333:

    • Our counselors will ask you a few questions, which are confidential. 

    • If you are eligible, we can help you with your application over the phone and we can keep in touch with you through the application process to provide information—and assistance if there are snags—until your application is approved. 
How to Apply
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When you are ready to apply, be prepared to provide personal information, including your Social Security number (if you have one), birth date, home address (if you have one), income and expenses.

    • Apply on your own: apply online today by visiting DTA Connect.
    • Apply with help: call Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline today at 1-800-645-8333.

New SNAP recipients will receive their EBT card by mail only and it may take 5-10 days to receive your card. People experiencing homelessness can use a shelter address to receive their card. 

What Are My Rights?
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SNAP is a federal entitlement program. That means as long as you you meet the eligibility requirements, you have a legal right to receive SNAP.

You also have a right to:

    • Have your application accepted by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) right away. Only your name, address, and signature need to be complete in order for the DTA to accept your application.
    • Have your SNAP application processed within 30 days after you apply and get expedited SNAP benefits with seven days if you meet the guidelines. 
    • Apply if you are homeless. 
    • Prove your income, expenses, and identity in more than one way. 
    • Receive an interpreter from the DTA.
    • Get a written letter telling you whether or not you can get SNAP, how much you will get, and how long the benefits will last.
    • Be treated with dignity, consideration, and respect, and to be treated without discrimination due to race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religious creed, or political belief. 
    • Appeal any DTA decision you disagree with by calling Fair Hearings at 1-800-882-2017.
FAQ's
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Who can get SNAP benefits? Can I receive SNAP if I do not have children?

How is SNAP eligibility determined?

What are Emergency SNAP benefits? Who is eligible?

Do I need to be working to apply for SNAP?

I own a home. Does this mean I can't get SNAP?

I am not a US citizen. Can I apply for SNAP?

I am homeless. Can I apply for SNAP?

Do I have to go into an office to apply for SNAP?

I live with other people. Do I have to put their names on the application?

How do I find out about the status of my SNAP application?

How long will it be until I get my SNAP benefits?

I received an EBT card in the mail, but the balance is $0. What does this mean?

Does receiving SNAP affect my taxes?

I have seen people purchase non-food items with an EBT card. I thought SNAP was only for food?

What is the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)? How do I use it? 

I still have some questions, where can I get help?

Who can get SNAP benefits? Can I receive SNAP if I do not have children?  

All types of people receive SNAP benefits—single adults, families, seniors, children, people living with roommates, and working people. You do not need to be out of work to be eligible for SNAP. Many people who do not have children are eligible for SNAP.

How is SNAP eligibility determined? 

Eligibility is based primarily on household income and certain expenses. Most applicants will not be asked for proof of money in the bank or other resources. Learn more and see if you are eligible by calling Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

What are Emergency SNAP benefits? Who is eligible?  

Emergency SNAP benefits are expedited benefits for applicants that need food assistance within 7 news. These benefits are typically issued for one month while applicants gather the verifications that the DTA needs to approve a full SNAP application. that you receive within seven days. To be eligible for expedited benefits, you must meet one of these three criteria:

    • Income and money in the bank add up to less than the monthly housing expenses.
    • Monthly income is less than $150, and money in the bank is less than $100. 
    • The applicant is a migrant worker, and money in the bank is less than $100.

Do I need to be working to apply for SNAP?  

No. Certain SNAP recipients may have to enroll in a job search program a few months after their benefits begin; however, many SNAP applicants do not. 

I own my own home. Does this mean I can't get SNAP?  

No. In fact, the costs associated with owning your home are used as deductions in determining your eligibility. The home you live in is not considered an asset. 

I am not a US Citizen. Can I apply for SNAP?  

Yes. Many non-citizens are eligible for SNAP. If you do not have documented immigration status, you will not be able to apply for yourself, but you may be able to apply for other eligible household members. Children born in the US may receive benefits even if their parents do not have documentation. There is more information on Mass Legal Help, here. More information about SNAP and how it impacts the Public Charge rule, can be found here.

I am homeless. Can I apply for SNAP? 

Yes. A permanent address is not required to apply for SNAP. You can get benefits whether you live on the street, are staying in a shelter, or are living with family or friends on a temporary basis.  Homeless individuals and families who do not have regular shelter expenses can claim an automatic deduction on their income. 

Do I have to go into an office to apply?  

No. you can begin an application over the phone by calling Project Bread's toll-free and confidential FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333. You may also apply online at DTAConnect. Your Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) caseworker will call you to schedule an interview over the phone. 

I live with other people. Do I have to put their names on my application?  

Yes. If you buy and prepare food with the people you live with, you all apply together. If you do not, you apply separately, but you will still need to put their names on your application. Some people must always apply together, including spouses and children under 22 living with a parent or step-parent.

How do I find out the status of my SNAP application?  

You should first try to contact your DTA caseworker. You can also call the DTA Assistance Line at 1-877-382-2363, or you can access information on your application through DTAConnect.

How long will it be until I get my SNAP benefits?  

It can take up to 30 days to receive benefits. Some households may be eligible for expedited/emergency SNAP, which are available in seven (7) calendar days. 

I received an EBT card in the mail but the balance is $0. What does this mean?  

When you apply for SNAP you may be given an EBT card right away, but until your application is processed, you will not have any benefits on your card. It is also possible you may be categorically eligible for $0, meaning when your income and expense information was calculated the amount of SNAP benefits you qualified for was $0. However, you are still considered a SNAP recipient and can receive any associated benefits, such as utility discounts and free school meals for your children. 

Does receiving SNAP affect my taxes?  

No. SNAP benefits are not considered income. 

I have seen people purchase non-food items with an EBT card. I thought SNAP was only for food?  

Yes. SNAP benefits are only for food. However, some people have an EBT card for their TAFDC (cash assistance) benefits. You can use TAFDC benefits to purchase food and non-food items. For information on TAFDC eligibility, contact your local DTA office. For a list of permissible foods to purchase with your SNAP benefits, visit the USDA website.

What is The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)? How do I use it?  

If you are a SNAP recipient, you will automatically enroll in HIP. You can use your SNAP benefits to buy fruits and vegetables from approved HIP vendors (look for the HIP logo or ask the vendor if they participate in the program before you make your purchase). You will receive $1 for each dollar you spend on eligible fruits and vegetables, up to a monthly limit:

    • 1-2 person household: up to $40 monthly HIP incentives 
    • 3-5 person household: up to $60 monthly HIP incentives 
    • 6+ person household: up to $80 monthly HIP incentives 
Your receipt will show you the amount of your HIP incentive benefit after each eligible purchase. This amount will be credited back to your SNAP account. Use this extra benefit right away or save it for another shopping trip. Learn more about HIP and where to find HIP vendors here.

I still have some questions. Where can I get help?  

For more information, contact Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.