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.
- 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:
- 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)