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.
EBT = electronic benefits transfer.
EBT card = a card that looks and works like a debit or credit card but is loaded with food stamps (also known as SNAP benefits) and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.
You’ll be sent an EBT card in the mail as soon as you submit an application and your identify is verified. You may get an EBT card before you’ve been approved for benefits.
Massachusetts’s EBT customer service number is 1-800-997-2555.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
WIC food packages typically include cereal, juice, eggs, milk, peanut butter, dried and canned beans, tofu, fruits and vegetables, and whole-wheat bread. WIC packages also include canned fish and cheese for breastfeeding moms, and baby food for babies.
Yes! Your EBT card can get you and your family discounted or free admission to museums, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and more.
Once your child is born, your household size will increase. 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.
If you have a child who’s 18 or younger, you may qualify for cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
TANF provides monthly cash assistance to help families with children get by during tough times.
Check out this benefit finder tool and find out.