40. What if I am homeless or live in a shelter?

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Notas finales

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

You do not need a permanent address, cooking facilities or a regular place to live to get SNAP1.

  • You can get benefits if you live on the street, are staying at a homeless shelter or a shelter for victims of domestic violence2.
  • You can also get SNAP even if you get free meals at the shelter or soup kitchen/meals program.
  • You may also qualify for expedited (emergency) SNAP. See expedited (emergency) benefits eligibility. And the homeless deduction should be used to calculate your countable income. See the homeless deduction.

If you do not have an address where you can regularly pick up mail, you can have mail from DTA sent to a local organization such as a shelter that accepts mail for clients, or to a U.S. Post Office Box. If you have a smart phone or access to a computer and an email address, you can also use DTA Connect to see all the notices and forms DTA sends you. See getting information about your SNAP case online or with your smartphone.

Proof of identity and residence

When you apply, DTA will ask for proof of your identity3. DTA will also ask for your SSN (you can give it verbally if you know it).

Once DTA verifies your SSN through a data match, your SSN serves as proof of identity. And there are other ways you can prove who you are including a written statement from a staff person at a food pantry, detox program or shelter4.

DTA must accept reasonable proof that you are a Massachusetts resident. If you do not have proof because you are homeless or you just moved to Massachusetts, DTA should accept a self-declaration that you are a resident. If you are denied SNAP because DTA says you did not prove you are a Massachusetts resident, contact MLRI at [email protected].

DTA Online Guide

See Appendix G for links to the DTA’s BEACON 5 Online Guide for this section.


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