Yes! You can always ask a family member, friend, or social services agency to help you fill out an application. They can also accompany you to a local DTA office or participate in a phone interview with you - with your permission.
But YOU should sign and YOU need to participate in the interview. That's because you are legally responsible for all the information on the application. If the helping friend or agency gives DTA incorrect information – or leaves out information that is important to tell DTA – you may end up with a SNAP overpayment, or worse. And the helping agency that gave DTA wrong information could be legally liable too!
It’s OK to have someone help you apply or be with you when you are interviewed – but DTA should not conduct any interview without you!
What is an Authorized Representative?
An Authorized Representative is someone you choose to act on your behalf and manage your SNAP benefits. This is similar to a “representative payee” for SSI or Social Security benefits. The Authorized Representative does not need to have legal guardianship or any court appointment.
You can choose a family member, friend or other trusted third party to become the Authorized Representative. This person 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.
You will need to sign a DTA form appoint this person, Request to Choose Someone to Be My Authorized Representative. See Appendix C for a copy of this form.
You can decide what role this person should have. The Authorized Rep can just sign the application and report changes, or can also get an EBT card. It is up to you how much authority you give. Be sure to choose someone you trust. If this person gives DTA wrong income or other eligibility information and you get too much SNAP, you might have to pay back an overpayment. 106 C.M.R. §§ 361.300, 361.310.
Do I get to keep my own EBT card?
YES. You should not lose access to your EBT card even if you have an authorized representative. DTA can issue two EBT cards—one for you and one for your authorized representative. 106 C.M.R. §§ 361.300-361.370. Authorized representatives do not have photo EBT cards. See What are Photo EBT Cards?
- DTA cannot force you to have an authorized representative if you do not want one. It is your choice. You can also tell DTA at any time if you want to remove this person from your SNAP case.
- Ask to talk with a SNAP Supervisor if a DTA worker refuses to talk with you about a SNAP case, even though you sent DTA a signed statement or client consent form. There is no requirement that a specific or “correct form” must be used. A handwritten client-signed statement (with her name, DOB, address and date) is fine.