The Massachusetts Food Stamps Program operates under the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Food stamps allow low income households to gain access to healthier diets and food that is often a struggle to provide to their family based on their income alone. Food stamps in Massachusetts can be used to buy almost any food item in a grocery or super market store. Food assistance allows an individual or family to save money by spending less on food bills. Along with other cash assistance programs, you have to apply to receive food stamps benefits. You also have to adhere to certain eligibility limits that are designed to eliminate families who have too many resources or a high monthly salary from receiving cash assistance. Food stamps are only for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens with limited incomes who buy food and prepare meals at home. People living homeless shelters, group homes for the disable, drug and alcohol treatment centers and subsidized elderly homes are also eligible to receive food stamp benefits. There are also limitations on who has to work to receive food stamps. Some people may not have to be employed to receive cash benefits. To learn more about these eligibility rules and to read more about the program, you can visit the Massachusetts Food Stamps website.
Applying for Food Stamps
One of the first things you need to do is an eligibility check. You can do an eligibility check online through the MassResource.org web page. The eligibility check allows you to see if you are likely to qualify for any cash assistance. Once you pass the eligibility check, you can apply online for benefits through the Virtual Gateway for Food Stamps. Before you start the application, you need some basic information to complete the form. You'll need social security numbers and birthdates of all the people living in the home that are applying for assistance. You also need household information from all jobs, child support to any other income that you receive. On the application, you must disclose your expenses, such as shelter and utilities. You can stop your application and go back at any time using the virtual gateway. Once you submit an application, it is reviewed by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and you are contacted by a case manager who will conduct an interview. The interview is mandatory and determines your eligibility further based on the information in your application and answers to specific questions. You should answer as many questions as possible to give the best impression of your situation.
Receiving Food Stamps
There are specific eligibility regulations that decide who receives aid after filing an application. One factor is your household. An eligible household is an individual or group of people who live together, cook together and eat at home. Members who receive food stamp benefits may get their benefits together on one EBT card, but their income is counted as a group in determining eligibility. Spouses who also live together and children under 22 living with a parent are considered part of the same SNAP food stamp household, even they do not prepare meals together. There are also restrictions on who is eligible for SNAP food stamps in Massachusetts. You must be a U.S. citizen with a valid social security number, and a resident of Massachusetts. If you live in a subsidized elderly housing, drug and alcohol treatment center, group home, or shelter, you may be eligible to receive SNAP food stamps. You also need a relatively low income that is near or below the Federal Poverty Level. You can find out more about how your income compares by doing the eligibility check test. Once you are approved, you will receive an EBT card in the mail. Every month, you will receive an electronic deposit that is your food stamp benefits money to be used like cash at grocery stores and super markets. If you ever want to report a change, you can always update your information by contacting your local office or going online to MassResource.org.
Finding Food Service Locations
SNAP is the federal name for the food assistance programs. Every state has multiple SNAP locations. In fact, every county should have multiple locations where you can use your card. You can find specific locations near you using the SNAP retailer locator on the federal website. You can also contact local offices in Massachusetts by calling 1-866-950-FOOD. If you have a question about your EBT card, you can call 1-800-997-2555. If you want to update your account, you can use the My Account Page on the Virtual Gateway Self Service website.