The Providers Guide To EBT and SNAP in Massachusetts

Keeping track of all the EBT information out there can be overwhelming. So, we’ve broken down all the basics in one handy guide.

If you have a question that we haven’t answered here, let us know.

Updated: April 15, 2024
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What's an EBT card?

EBT = electronic benefits transfer.

EBT card = a card that looks and works like a debit or credit card but is loaded with food stamps (SNAP) and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.

When you apply for benefits, the state will send you an EBT card in the mail. (If you apply in person, they will give it to you there.)

If you are approved for benefits, then they will be loaded onto the card.

If you have issues with your card, Massachusetts’s EBT customer service number is 1-800-997-2555.

How do I apply for food stamps?

You can apply for benefits lots of ways:

Online: The easiest way to apply for food stamps is online at DTA connect. It works both on a computer and your smartphone.

By phone: Call 1-877-382-2363, wait until it asks for a language option, and instead of choosing a language, press 7. You will be put in line to speak to a worker directly.

In person: If you’d rather apply in person, find your local office here. You should be able to do your interview and get an EBT card the same day (though it will take longer for them to approve you and load your benefits.)

Through a community org partner: You can also apply with the help of one of the local community organizations that offer SNAP application assistance. You can also call the Project Bread hotline and they can connect you with a local assister: 1-800-645-8333

How do I renew my food stamps?

You’ll have to renew your food stamps before your certification period (the amount of time you’ll get food stamps) ends.

  • Simplified reporting” households (those with adults, seniors, individuals with a disability or children, and any with earned income), must fill out an Interim Report at month 6 and a Recertification Form at month 12.
  • Elderly-Disabled Simplified Application Reporting” (EDSAP) households (those where all adult members are aged 60+ or have a verified disability, there may be children under 18 in the household, and those without any earnings from work), must fill out a Recertification Form at month 36.
  • Change Reporting” households (those where all members are receiving economic assistance benefits from DTA), must fill out a Recertification Form at month 12.
  • Bay State Combined Application Project” (Bay State CAP) households (households of one that receive Supplemental Security Income, SSI, and may or may not have other sources of unearned income), must fill out a Recertification Form at month 36.

You can renew your benefits via dtaconnect.com, over the phone by calling the DTA Assistance line at 877-382-2363, or return your renewal paperwork via mail, fax, or taking it to a local office.

When will I get my food stamps?

Massachusetts sends out benefits over the first 14 days of every month, based on the last digit of your Social Security Number (SSN). Check the full deposit schedule to find out which day you’ll get your food stamps.

What household changes do I have to report and when?

“Simplified reporting” households must report these changes by the 10th day of the month following the change:

  • If your household’s gross monthly income (the amount of money you bring in before taxes and expenses are subtracted) goes over the limit for your household size.
  • If your household contains an adult without a disability or child (what the government calls an ABAWD), you must report if their weekly work hours fall below 20 hours per week or 80 hours averaged monthly.

“Elderly-Disabled Simplified Application Reporting (EDSAP)” households must report these changes by the 10th day of the month following the change:

  • If someone moves in or out; or
  • If a household member gets a job and starts earning wages.

“Change Reporting” households must report these changes by the 10th day of the month following the change:

  • If your household income changes by more than $125 a month; or
  • If there is a change in the amount of income you have and where the income comes from changes (like starting or stopping a job); or
  • If someone moves in or out of your household; or
  • If where you live changes and any changes to how much you pay to live there; or
  • If you stop making child support payments or your legal obligation to pay changes. If you are moving, you should report your new address ASAP to make sure you don’t miss any important letters.

To report changes and for more details, visit DTA’s website.

How do I replace a lost or stolen EBT card?

If your card is lost, stolen or damaged call the Massachusetts EBT Customer Service line at (800) 997-2555 to request a replacement card.

Once you request it, it can take 7-10 days for your new card to arrive in the mail.

If you would rather not wait, you can go to your local DTA office to get a replacement card the same day.

If you get cash benefits, DTA may charge a $5 fee for replacing your card. (More info here.)

My benefits were stolen off my EBT card. What can I do?

If your benefits were electronically stolen (e.g. card skimming), the state can replace your benefits. You can get submit a theft claim to DTA in a few ways:

- Online: with this short DTA web form

- By phone: Call DTA's stolen benefits phone number at (833) 602-9247 and say you want to submit a claim for stolen SNAP benefits and give a telephone signature

You can also do it by mail or in person with a paper form if that is easiest for you.

For more info, see Massachusetts' page on stolen benefits replacement.

If your benefits were stolen because someone stole your physical card and knew your PIN, you should call the EBT customer service line at (800) 997-2555 to cancel the card and get a replacement. Unfortunately benefits stolen in this way won't be replaced by the state.

What can I buy with EBT?

You can use food stamps to buy groceries, snacks, and seeds or plants that will produce food.

You can’t use food stamps to buy alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, live animals, prepared foods, or any non-food household items.

Which stores and restaurants take EBT food stamps?

Download Providers to see nearby stores and farmer’s markets that take EBT. You don’t need an account to use the map.

Restaurants: Massachusetts also lets some EBT recipients spend their benefits on hot meals at select restaurants and food trucks. This is called the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) and is available if you are:
- An older adult (60+)

- Currently experiencing homelessness, and/or

- Are a person living with disabilities

For more info and a list of the RMP restaurants/food trucks, click here.

Can I get any discounts with my EBT card?

Yes! Your EBT card can get you and your family discounted or free admission to museums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and more. See the "Card to Culture" program.

Massachusetts also offers money back (between $40 and $80!) when you use SNAP to buy fruits and vegetables through the Health Incentives Program.

Can I get more food stamps if I’m pregnant or a new parent?

Once your child is born, your household size will increase. Report it to DTA. More household members = more benefits.

While you are pregnant, you can’t get more food stamps, but you can apply for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.

WIC provides food and resources for pregnant women, new parents, and children up to 5 years old.

My family can’t afford other basic needs besides food.

If you have a child who’s 18 or younger, you may qualify for cash assistance through the TAFDC program.

TANF provides monthly cash assistance to help families with children get by during tough times.

This page was written based on official government sources, and has been edited for simplicity.

We work hard to ensure this information is accurate, helpful, and up-to-date. We welcome any corrections or feedback here.