Introduction

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

SNAP benefits are federal assistance to families to help them buy food. In October of 2008, Congress changed the federal name from “Food Stamps” to “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” or “SNAP” – which name Massachusetts elected.

Most grocery stores, supermarkets and co-ops in Massachusetts /SNAP accept electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. In Massachusetts, there is no asset test for most SNAP applicants, but all households must meet certain gross and net income tests. Unlike some other federal programs, you do not have to have children or be disabled to get benefits. You can also qualify for food stamps/SNAP even if your cash welfare ended because of a time limit, your income exceeds the cash benefit level, or for other reasons. And receipt of SNAP means your minor children qualify for free school meals, and your household may also qualify for a utility discount and a Lifeline phone service discount.

SNAP is a critical program in difficult economic times, especially important for low-income older adults to remain in the community, as a work support for low-wage families and individuals in economic crisis. 

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