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How do I apply if I live in a group home, substance abuse or teen program?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

Group home residents

If you live in a licensed group home for persons with disabilities, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits as a one person household even though you live with others and share common meals. 106 C.M.R. § 361.240(B).  A licensed group home is one licensed by the state as a community-based residential facility and can serve no more than 16 residents at a time. 106 C.M.R. § 365.640.

Many group homes are also the Authorized Representatives for residents. This means a group home manager may file a SNAP application for each residents and/or the group home receives the EBT card. Other group homes have the residents apply, but also have point of sale (POS) devices – similar to grocery stores – to swipe the EBT card of each resident monthly.  

Under SNAP rules, you cannot be forced to designate the group home your Authorized Representative unless the group home makes an individualized determination that you cannot manage your benefits due to your disabilities. 106 C.M.R. § 365.620(A). See Can I Get Benefits if I am Disabled and Living in a Group Home? for your rights under SNAP as a group home resident.

Residents of other substance abuse disorder treatment centers

If you are a resident of a licensed substance abuse disorder treatment program, the SNAP rules say that the treatment program must be your Authorized Representative. 106 C.M.R. § 365.610.  Even if you apply for SNAP, the rules say the recipient must transfer their EBT benefits to the treatment program for food purchases while you are staying there.

If you live in a “sober house” or other roomer/board situation which is not licensed by the Department of Public Health, the sober house should not take your EBT card unless you voluntarily appoint them as your authorized representative.

Residents of teen living programs

If you are living in a teen parent program, the program is given the authority to decide if it will be the authorized representative and receive the SNAP benefits, or if it will allow you to apply for and spend the benefits yourself. 106 C.M.R. § 365.620(B).

When you leave the group home, substance abuse or teen program

After you leave a group home, treatment center or teen living program, the home or program must return your EBT card to you. If you do not have an EBT card in your name, they should help you get one.  The home or program should also give you any SNAP benefits remaining for that month (the pro-rata share of your SNAP based on the day you leave). They cannot keep the full month worth of SNAP if you are not staying the full month. 

Contact an advocate if you do not get back your EBT card or benefits, or do not help you with getting your own EBT card. 

DTA Policy Guidance:

DTA Online Guide:

  • Group Homes: SNAP > Expenses and Deductions > Household Expenses > Group Homes > Group Homes
  • TAFDC > Program Nonfinancial Requirements > Teen Parents > Teen Parenting Program
Additional Guidance

Show DTA Policy Guidance