You can buy any edible food except hot foods prepared for eating immediately. You can also buy seeds and plants to grow food. You cannot buy non-food items such as alcohol, pet food, vitamins, or grooming products. 106 C.M.R. § 360.100. You do not need to have a stove or other cooking facilities to get SNAP benefits.
You may be able to use your SNAP benefits to make a voluntary payment for prepared meals at certain locations like DV and homeless shelters, congregate meal sites for elders or delivered by Meals on Wheels. It depends on whether the agency serving the meals is an approved EBT vendor. 106 C.M.R. § 360.120. You cannot use SNAP at restaurants.
You are allowed to use your EBT card for food purchases out-of-state at grocers and farmers markets that participate in the SNAP EBT program. There is no prohibition against out-of-state purchases. However, if you move out of Massachusetts, you must advise DTA that you have moved. Your SNAP case will be closed, but you can reapply in the new state and qualify if you are eligible.
DTA has information on how to use your EBT Bay State Access Card, and USDA has helpful information on what you can buy with SNAP benefits.
- While you cannot use SNAP for vitamins or medications, if you are elderly or disabled, be sure to tell DTA about any money you spend on vitamins and other health care expenses. You can claim these as a deduction to boost your SNAP benefit. See What medical expenses can I claim if I am elderly (60+) or disabled?
Produced by Patricia Baker, Laura Gallant, Deborah Harris, Rochelle Hahn and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Last updated January 2013