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What is an Authorized Representative?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

An Authorized Representative is someone you choose to act on your behalf and manage your SNAP benefits. 106 C.M.R.§§361.300-361.330. This is similar to a “representative payee” for SSI or Social Security benefits.

The Authorized Representative does not need to have legal guardianship or a court appointment, but you do have to give your voluntary written consent.

DTA will ask you to sign a DTA form appointing this person, Request to Choose Someone to Be My Authorized Representative. See Appendix C.

Based on your choice, the person you designate as an Authorized Representative can:

  • sign the SNAP application on your behalf, receive DTA notices, report changes and talk about your case with DTA, and/or
  • get a second EBT card to shop for you with your SNAP benefits. DTA can issue two EBT cards – one for you and one for the Authorized Representative.​

Be sure to choose someone you trust. If this person gives DTA incorrect information and you get too much SNAP, you might have to pay back an overpayment. (link is external)106 C.M.R. §§ 361.310.(B) 

DTA cannot require you to have an authorized representative if you do not want one. The only exception to this rule is for residents of substance abuse disorder treatment programs and some group home residents. 7 CFR 273.11(e), and 106 C.M.R.§§361.350

You can decide how much authority you give to your Authorized Representative. You can also ask DTA to remove the person who is your Authorized Representative from your SNAP case any time. For example, you may find a family member or friend is not spending your SNAP benefits appropriately.

For more information about the difference between a helping agency and an authorized representative, see  MLRI FAQ here

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

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