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FAQ's

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:

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:

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.