Food & Income Security


Starting October 1, 2023, SNAP benefits will increase to reflect cost of living adjustment (COLA).

Last-reviewed: 11am, Sept. 19, 2023

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • Care teams can share updates and changes to SNAP application and processes with SNAP applicants and households.

The Breakdown

Navigating the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)

  • DTA has a new notice called “Benefit Decision Notice (BDN), which will replace the old EBC notice to notify households if they are approved for benefits or if there are any changes to their benefits or in their DTA case.
  • DTA offices also have Domestic Violence Specialists to help survivors access DTA benefits and services. People can call the DTA Assistance Line at 877-382-2363 and select #2 to be connected with a Domestic Violence Specialist. Learn more from this DTA video.
  • Each DTA office has at least one Client Assistance Coordinator to help people with disabilities access DTA benefits and services, including accommodations. Find more information on this brochure.
  • DTA lobbies are open for limited services (e.g., getting an EBT card, using a kiosk to use DTA Connect, SNAP Path to Work, SNAP Nutrition Education and other DTA web services). Additional services can be accessed by calling DTA at 877-382-2363 or visiting the DTA Connect website.
  • Cash assistance (TAFDC and EAEDC) applicants can request an interpreter if they feel most comfortable speaking in a language other than English. and EBT outreach flyers are also available in 6 languages (Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese).
  • DTA continues to provide information regarding “skimming,” a type of theft that can happen anywhere an EBT, credit card or debit card is used. Households whose benefits have been stolen can report fraud to DTA. DTA recommends that clients who receive SNAP, TAFDC or EAEDC benefits re-PIN their EBT cards for protection. People can call EBT Customer Service (800-997-2555) to change their EBT card PIN. For more information on how to re-PIN, visit (available in 10 different languages)

Food Security

  • For households who had children receiving homeschooling or enrolled in virtual learning for the School Year 2022-2023, they can apply for Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits up until September 30, 2023. For more information, see MLRI Flier.
  • SNAP households who lost food due to household misfortune, including recent flooding in Western MA, can complete a SNAP 9B form to replace up to one month of SNAP benefits. More information here.
  • DTA has started sending notices (by email, text and/or mail) regarding reimbursement of stolen state-funded SNAP benefits to those whose benefits were stolen between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2024. More information here.
  • SNAP applicants are required to participate in an interview with a DTA employee within 30 days of the date of their application. Applicants may request the interview in person or by phone.
  • DTA continues to require an Interim Report at 6 months and a Recertification form at 12 months for certain households (to report income). SNAP households who receive recertification paperwork should complete the same otherwise their SNAP will end. These forms can be completed over the phone, on DTAConnect, or by returning the paper form by mail/fax/in-person.
  • Claiming medical expenses can boost SNAP benefits! Eligible SNAP households can self-declare the Standard Medical Expense deduction at any time over the phone or in writing to DTA. The $155 deduction is limited to people ages 60+ and those with a verified disability if their average out-of-pocket medical costs exceed $35/month. Call the DTA Senior Assistance Office at 833-712-8027 for more information.
  • Massachusetts residents can now apply for SNAP benefits when seeking subsidized healthcare coverage through a MassHealthConnector application by clicking the SNAP checkbox on the application. Approximately 700,000 residents are within the “SNAP Gap,” meaning that they receive MassHealth coverage but are not receiving SNAP benefits.
  • DTA must take away any benefits that have remained unused on a SNAP EBT and P-EBT account for 9 months (274 days). There is no way to get benefits back once they have been taken away. DTA will send a notice 30 days prior to expunging any benefits from your card.
  • Applicants for SNAP benefits can ask to pick up their EBT card at a local office, instead of waiting for it to be mailed. DTA can mail EBT cards overnight in emergency situations like when an applicant is experiencing interpersonal violence (IPV) or homelessness.

Nutrition and Project Bread

  • School Meals for All is now permanent for MA students enrolled in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. More information here.
  • Find nutrition resources by zip code and free, confidential assistance in accessing federal nutrition programs through the FoodSource Hotline at 800-645-8333 or Project Bread.
  • Meals on Wheels provides nutritional support to homebound seniors. Find a local nutrition program site.
  • People can find updated dietary guidelines, shopping guides, and recipes at


The Bottom Line

  • Sharing reliable, up-to-date information about the changing resource landscape with families is key to reducing hunger and increasing food security.

Financial Assistance

The Basics

  • TAFDC families will see an increase in their benefits starting September 2023. The annual TAFDC clothing allowance for children receiving TAFDC will now be $450. More information here.
  • The extension deadline for filing income tax returns is October 16, 2023.
  • Many Social Security offices are open for walk-in service. Check the status of a local office on the SSA website. Due to long in-person wait times, the SSA advises people to complete services online or by calling a local office whenever possible. 

The Breakdown

  • SSA is no longer accepting faxed applications. To meet the signature requirements and have an application qualify as valid, the original must be submitted. See more information and requirements here.
  • DTA is restarting TAFDC Learnfare requirement mandates that any child 6-15 years old who receives TAFDC must attend school regularly. To comply with Learnfare rules, a child may not have more than 8 unexcused absences each quarter. Find more information here, including reasons why an absence may be considered excused.
  • Some taxpayers may qualify for free preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), and AARP programs. Find more information on the website or
  • Older adults and people with disabilities who receive SNAP benefits and have medical expenses greater than $35 and less than or equal to $190 per month are eligible for a $155 Standard Medical Deduction. Learn more in the guidance here, in this DTA Online Guide Transmittal 2022-49 or by calling the DTA Senior Assistance Office at 833-712-8027.
  • If cash assistance applications are delayed due to a DTA error (e.g., a paperwork processing delay), applicants have a right to receive a retroactive payment. The retroactive payment should cover any missed benefits dating back to the date they applied.  
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides eligible households with a $30/month discount on internet services. Any household that receives WIC or whose income is below 200% FPL can apply through their internet service provider. Twenty leading internet providers will offer ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30/month. So eligible families can match their ACP benefit with one of these plans to receive high-speed internet at no cost. For additional information, visit the Common Sense guide or
  • Free., a program offering menstrual hygiene products, is working to end period poverty in Massachusetts. The program has distributed more than 261,844 products to individuals and through partner agencies. Find Free. products here.

The Bottom Line

  • Sharing reliable, up-to-date information about the changing resource landscape with families is key to optimizing household income.