How do I apply for SNAP benefits?
You have a number of options to apply for SNAP. You can:
- Apply in person at a local DTA office.
- File an on-line application. See Can I Apply Through the Internet?.
- Mail or fax a paper SNAP application, or
- File a SNAP application through the local Social Security office (SSA) if you are applying or being reviewed for SSI. See Can I Apply for SNAP Benefits at the Local Social Security Office?
You have the right to apply for benefits – whether or not a DTA thinks you are in fact eligible. This is a fundamental right of all Massachusetts Residents. 106 C.M.R. §§ 361.050-361.130. DTA still needs to determine if you are eligible, but no one should discourage you from filing a SNAP application.
NO wrong door!
You can start a SNAP application with minimal information - your name, address, signature and the date. 106 C.M.R. §§ 361.100, 361.130. You will still need to give DTA more information later, but don’t delay filing a SNAP application just because you don’t have all the information or proofs.
You can get a paper SNAP application at any the local DTA office address or print out a SNAP paper application from DTA’s SNAP web page. You can also call the DTA Assistance Line (1-877-382-2363) to ask that a paper SNAP application be mailed to you. 106 C.M.R. § 361.140.
You can apply in person or hand-deliver an application to any local DTA office, no matter where you live. Each DTA office must accept your SNAP application. 106 C.M.R. § 361.130. The local DTA office should also review and accept any forms or documents you bring in. Every local DTA office also has special scanning equipment for you to ship documents immediately to the DTA Document Processing Center. See How Do I Submit Proofs to DTA's Document Processing Center?
And you can also apply online on your own (Can I Apply Through the Internet?) or apply through a SNAP outreach provider, such as the Project Bread Food Source Hotline 1-800-645-8333
You have the right to file your application the same day you contact DTA. 106 C.M.R. § 361.130. If you go in person, the local office must give you an application or “Request for Assistance” form you can sign and submit the same day. 106 C.M.R. § 361.140.
If you are approved for SNAP within 30 days of when you apply, you should get benefits back to the date DTA first received the signed application. 106 C.M.R. § 361.080. If you get your proofs to DTA in after Day 30, see Can I Get my SNAP Case Reopened if I am Denied for Lack of Proofs?
Cash assistance applications
Your application for cash assistance (TAFDC for families with children) or EAEDC (for elders, persons with disabilities and certain children) must be treated as an automatic application for SNAP benefits at the same time. 106 C.M.R. §§ 361.160. You do not have to file a separate SNAP application or have a separate interview, even if you are later found ineligible for cash assistance. 106 C.M.R. § 365.120(A)(1), (A)(2).
- To check on the status of your application, you can set up a My Account Page, download DTA Connect or call the DTA Assistance Line at 1-877-382-2363 and follow the prompts. See What is a My Account Page?
DTA Policy Guidance:
DTA Online Guide: SNAP > Application Processing >