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Help for families and individuals

Many families and individuals are eligible for SNAP. Receiving SNAP benefits can open the door to many other programs, including free meals for your children at school, utility discounts, and free cell phone service.

Information for families

Your assets will not count toward your eligibility.

You can use legally obligated child support payments as a deduction to your income.

If you receive an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), it is not counted as income.

You will need to include any children under the age of 22 on your application if they are still living with you. Any money earned by a child under 18 who is attending high school is not counted toward your eligibility.

You can deduct the cost of daycare while you are working or attending school. Daycare costs include after school care, teen programs, transportation fees, and others.

In some instances, you may not need to meet the work requirement or college student requirements of the SNAP regulations.

Information for individuals

You do not need to have children to receive SNAP.

If you live with roommates, but buy and prepare your food separately, you can apply for yourself alone. You may want to include a Shared Housing Verification Form with your application.

If you are under 22 and living with a parent or step-parent, you will need to apply with your parent even if you buy your food separately. If you are under 18 and living with a responsible adult, you need to apply with that adult.

There are special rules regarding half- and full-time college students.

A pregnant woman living alone with income under 200 percent of the poverty level is always eligible for SNAP if she meets the immigration guidelines.

Important notes regarding children

Child Support

Child support costs include direct money payments, monies paid directly from Unemployment Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, or your regular pay. You can also include costs of health insurance, overdue child support, and any third-party payments, such as to a landlord or utility company.

To deduct child support payments, the child support must be court ordered. The DTA will not deduct amounts you pay voluntarily.

Foster Care

If you receive foster care payments, you have two options for completing your application. You can include the foster children in your household and the foster payments you receive (as unearned income) — or you can decide not to include the foster children and eliminate the foster care payments from your income. You cannot apply for your foster children alone.

Free or Reduced-Price School Meals

If you are now receiving SNAP, your children may be eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. 

You can apply for free or reduced-price school meals through your child’s school. If you were previously denied this benefit because of your income, but are now receiving SNAP, you should re-apply. Talk to your child’s school to be sure you have completed all necessary forms.

For more information contact Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.



Mass DTA
USDA SNAP is a resource created by Project Bread - The Walk for Hunger, Inc., and has been funded in part with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of USDA, nor does mention of tradenames, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Project Bread - The Walk for Hunger® | 145 Border Street | East Boston, MA 02128
FoodSource Hotline  |  1-800-645-8333   |  (TTY) 1-800-377-1292 | |