Can I get benefits if I am disabled and live in a group home?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

If you live in a licensed group home for persons who are disabled or blind, you are eligible for SNAP benefits at the one-person benefit amount, even if you share common meals at the group home.106 C.M.R. §§ 361.240(B), 365.620

You may be able to apply and manage your own SNAP benefits or the group home may decide to be your Authorized Representative. See Can someone else apply for me? and How do I apply if in a group home, or substance abuse or teen program?. The group home must make this decision based on an individualized determination of your “physical and mental ability to handle your own affairs.” 106 C.M.R. § 365.620(A). You also have the right to challenge their determination if you want to keep your own EBT benefits.

You cannot be forced to automatically turn over your EBT benefits or forced to appoint the group home as your Authorized Representative. However, if you get prepared meals at the group home, they may ask you to contribute some of your SNAP benefits toward the cost of these meals. 

Advocacy Reminders:

  • If you leave the group home to live on your own in private or public housing, your SNAP benefits should still continue without interruption. The group home should turn over any remaining benefits for the month you leave. Be sure to report the change in address, living situation and expenses. DTA should not require you to file a new application unless your certification period is ending.
  • If the group home insists you appoint them as your “authorized representative” to receive your EBT card, and you do not agree, contact a legal advocate.
  • “Sober houses” typically provide room and meals for adults who have substance abuse issues and may be homeless, transitioning from a treatment program and/or referred by a court or probation officer. Sober houses may be regulated at the local level but usually are not licensed or regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. If you live in a “sober house” or other roomer/boarder situation that is not licensed by the state, you cannot be forced to turn over your EBT benefits without your written agreement. If this has happened to you, contact an advocate.

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections:  SNAP > Expenses and Deductions > Household Expenses > Group Homes > Group Homes

Additional Guidance
  • When group home indicates a portion of the resident’s fee is used toward  heating or cooling expenses, the SNAP benefits are calculated with the heating/cooling SUA. Transitions Quality Corner (January 2011)
  • Interagency agreement with DMH, DDS to designate 10% of residents’ shelter costs as a heating expense. This  leverages heating/cooling SUA in SNAP calculations. Transitions FYI, (Sept. 2007)
  • Representative payee administrative fees charged for SSI or RSDI recipients should be treated as dependent care expenses. Transitions FYI, (Sept. 2006)


Show DTA Policy Guidance

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
9am and 4pm