Helpful information once you are approved for SNAP
When you will receive your benefits
You should receive your SNAP/food stamps on the same date each month. This date is based on the last digit of your Social Security Number, as follows.
Using your EBT card
To use your card, swipe it through the machine at checkout, enter your PIN number, and then press Enter. If the store’s machine is not working, ask the clerk to fill out a manual voucher.
Checking your balance
You can check the balance of your SNAP benefits on the cash register receipt after a purchase, or by calling the EBT Customer Service line at 1-800-997-2555.
What you can purchase and when
You can purchase most food with your EBT card except alcohol, pet food, or hot prepared foods. You can also purchase seeds and plants to grow food. For a comprehensive list of permissible foods to purchase with your EBT card, please visit the USDA website.
You do not have to use all of your benefits in a single month. But, if you leave more than two month’s worth of benefits on your card, your DTA caseworker will call you to ask if you still need the benefits. You should try to use your benefits in the month you receive them.
If you leave more than three months of benefits in your account, your DTA caseworker will cancel your card and you will need to give your caseworker proof of your income and expenses within 180 days.
Changes to your situation
Sometimes you may have a change in your financial situation or the number of people in your household. It is best to check with your DTA caseworker to see when you must provide information on changes. If you do not notify your caseworker about certain changes, you may be required to pay back your SNAP benefits.
After a certain period of time, you will have to recertify your SNAP benefits. That is, you will need to provide your DTA caseworker with any relevant updated information. Learn more about the recertification process.
Lost EBT card
If your EBT card is lost or stolen, your benefits will not be replaced. It is very important to report a lost or stolen card as soon as possible.
If you lose your card or need to change your PIN number, call 1-800-997-2555.
If you experience a flood, fire, or other household problem that resulted in the loss of the food you purchased with your SNAP benefits, you may be able to receive replacement benefits for that month. You should contact your DTA caseworker immediately and be ready to provide documentation of the situation.
Sometimes a store may accidently deduct benefits off your card for purchases you did not make. If this happens, the store must file a “merchant mis-dispense claim” with the DTA. It may take a few weeks to receive replacement benefits.
For more information, or if you have lost your card or had benefits deducted that you did not spend, call Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333 to find locations of free food resources in your area.
GettingSNAP.org 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.
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