What is Bay State CAP for SSI recipients?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a pdf of the 2023 guide from www.masslegalservices.org/FoodStampSNAPAdvocacyGuide

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform institute
Reviewed January 2020

What is Bay State CAP for SSI recipients?

In Massachusetts, many SSI applicants and recipients can apply for SNAP through their Social Security Administration (SSA) office. This is called Bay State CAP or the SNAP “Combined Application Project.” 106 C.M.R. §366.910
If you meet the criteria for Bay State CAP, you do not need to file a separate SNAP application at DTA. DTA uses your SSI eligibility information to establish your benefits and send you an EBT card. 106 C.M.R.§366.910 (C) .
You may qualify for Bay State CAP SNAP benefits if:

  • you are an SSI applicant or recipient,
  • you are 18 or older and not living with a spouse,
  • you live alone, or live with others but purchase and prepare your own food separate from the others,
  • you do not have regular earned income, and
  • a portion of your SSI benefits is federally-funded.

When you apply for SSI or have your SSI case reviewed, the SSA Claims Representative should ask to screen you for SNAP. You do not need to send DTA any proofs. DTA will rely on the income and other information they get from SSA. 106 C.M.R. §366.910(C) If approved, DTA will send you a Bay State CAP/SNAP approval letter. DTA should also send you an EBT card and PIN. 106 C.M.R. §366.910(E)
Your Bay State Cap SNAP benefits are certified for 36 months. 106 C.M.R. §366.910(E)(3). When it is time to recertify your benefits, DTA should send you a short Bay State CAP Recertification form to fill out and send back.

You do not have to report any changes to DTA. If you move, start to work or have other changes, report those changes directly to SSA and SSA will automatically tell DTA about the changes. 106 C.M.R.§366.910 (B)(3)-(5). You have a right to switch from Bay State CAP to regular SNAP any time you would get higher SNAP benefits. 106 C.M.R. §366.910 (H)(2).

Advocacy Reminders

  • Bay State CAP recipients often receive the same benefit amount as regular SNAP benefits or even higher. In some cases you may get more through regular SNAP if you have high rent or homeownership costs or unreimbursed medical expenses.
  • DTA should not change your Bay State Cap unless they get information directly from SSA that causes DTA to decrease or end your benefits (for example, if SSA tells DTA that you have moved to a different state). If DTA decreases or stops your Bay State Cap because they got information from a data source other than SSA, contact MLRI.
  • In very unique situations – for example, if you have a Russian or other foreign government pension – it may be better to opt out of Bay State Cap. Consult with an advocate before opting out of Bay State Cap.
  • SSA typically suspends SSI benefits when individuals are “institutionalized” for 30 days or more, for example if you are admitted to a hospital, rehab facility, prison or other institution. When you are discharged and notify SSA of your return, SSA should reopen your SSI case. If SSA does not ask you questions about Bay State CAP (even though they should), contact DTA immediately to get your SNAP case reopened.
  • You are not eligible for Bay State if you if you only get a state-funded supplement to your SSI benefits, or if you get an employment related pension that fluctuates.

DTA Online Guide:SNAP > Certification Types > Bay State CAP > Bay State CAP Overview
SNAP > Certification Types > Bay State CAP > Bay State CAP Client Options
SSA Policy Operations Manual: Section SI BOS01801.302; accessed January 2020: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501801302BOS

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