You are here

Part 1 Application and Proofs

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a pdf of the 2022 guide from

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

How do I apply for SNAP benefits?

You have the right to apply for benefits – whether or not DTA thinks you are eligible. This is a fundamental right of all Massachusetts residents and the SNAP rules require DTA to encourage individuals who inquire about SNAP to apply. 106 C.M.R.§361.130. DTA still needs to determine if you are eligible, but no one should discourage you from filing a SNAP application.
You have options to apply for SNAP. There is no wrong door!

  • Apply online on your own through
  • Mail or fax in a paper SNAP application.
    • Paper applications available at, or call the DTA Assistance Line (1-877-382-2363) to ask that a paper SNAP application be mailed to you.
    • DTA has applications in multiple languages.
    • Adults age 60+ can fill out a shorter “SNAP Application for Seniors.”
    • DTA must mail a SNAP application the same day it is requested. 106 C.M.R.§361.140.
  • Apply in person at any local DTA office, no matter where you live.
    • Each DTA office must accept the SNAP application the same day you walk in. 106 C.M.R.§361.130.
    • Every local DTA office also has special scanning equipment for you to submit documents to your case. See How do I send DTA my docouments?
    • If you go in person, the local office should screen you for expedited (emergency SNAP), do an interview if you are able to wait to see a worker, get you an EBT card and accept any forms or documents you bring in.
  • Apply through a SNAP outreach provider, such as the Project Bread Food Source Hotline (call 1-800-645-8333) or a local SNAP Outreach Provider, See a list:
  • In certain situations, applicants for Supplemental Security Income can apply through the local Social Security office. See What is Bay State CAP for SSI recipients?

SNAP application rights: 106 C.M.R.§361.140.

Apply with minimal information

You have the right to file a SNAP application with just your basic information - your name, address, signature and the date. 106 C.M.R.§361.130. You will still need to give DTA more information later, but don’t delay filing a SNAP application because you don’t have all the information or proofs.

Signing the application

Your electronic or ink signature is your agreement that the information you provide to DTA is truthful and accurate. When you sign the application, you agree that you understand your rights and responsibilities to follow the rules, including to report changes when required. During the phone interview, a SNAP worker should go over these rights and responsibilities.

Retroactive SNAP benefits

If you are approved for SNAP within 30 days of when you apply, you should get benefits paid back to the date DTA received your signed application. 106 C.M.R.§361.080. If you get your proofs to DTA after day 30, see What if DTA does not give me SNAP back to the date I applied?

Cash assistance applications

If you are applying for DTA’s cash assistance benefits, DTA must treat your application for cash as an application for SNAP. There is no need for a separate application or separate interview. 106 C.M.R.§361.160. DTA must also process your SNAP benefits, even if they determine you are not eligible for cash assistance. 106 C.M.R.§365.120(A)(1), (A)(2).
See MLRI’s TAFDC and EAEDC Advocacy Guides for more on these cash benefits:

DTA Online Guide Section: SNAP > Application Processing > SNAP Application Processing > SNAP Application Processing and > Web Application

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