Elders & Disabled

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Help for elders (age 60+) and persons with disabilities

SNAP can be a vital resource if you are elderly or a person with a disability, especially if you are living on a fixed income. Whether you own your home, live in elderly housing or a group home, or have moved in with family, you may qualify for benefits. 

A Note on People with Disabilities

Project Bread recognizes that the term “disability” can include a wide variety of different conditions, such as physical impairment, mental impairment, neurodivergence, etc. A disability doesn’t always mean an impairment or deficiency. We also understand that a person with a disability isn’t necessarily on a government disability program. For government programs such as SNAP, a disability status as recognized by a government agency is needed. Examples of these disability statuses are given later.

We also respect a person’s right to choose how they prefer to be addressed. For this page, we have chosen to use “persons with disabilities” instead of “disabled people.” We recognize that the person with a disability is the one who chooses how they prefer to be addressed. One way is not better than the other.

Special SNAP regulations

  • DTA has implemented a major, exciting policy change to make this process MUCH easier for older adults and persons with disabilities: SNAP households 60+ and/or getting a disability benefit can self-declare in writing or verbally with DTA their medical costs between $35 and $155 a month. This leverages the standard medical expense deduction. If a household claims costs over $190 ($35 threshold plus $155/mo), all medical costs will need to be verified. 
  • There is no work requirement to be eligible for SNAP.
  • You can designate someone you trust to be an Authorized Representative, which would enable them to use your SNAP card to purchase food for you.
  • Different households have different certification periods. Please contact the FoodSource Hotline or DTA for additional information.

Examples of Medical Expenses DTA will count

  • Copayments for medications and doctor visits
  • Premiums and deductibles for health insurance
  • Cost of transportation for medical visits
  • Home care costs
  • OTC medications, vitamins, medical supplies

Important Notes

  • You are considered to be an elderly applicant if you are age 60 and older.
  • You are considered a disabled applicant if you are receiving a government disability benefit, including SSI (Supplemental Security Income), SSDI, MassHealth for the disabled, a public disability retirement (if considered permanent by Social Security), veteran’s disability retirement (after meeting certain conditions).
  • Even if you are not considered disabled according to SNAP rules, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) may still be required to make “reasonable accommodations” for a disability you have. You should always discuss any special needs with your DTA caseworker.
  • If you are disabled and live in a group home, there are special regulations that will determine your eligibility to apply.
  • If you are receiving only SSI benefits and live alone, you may be eligible for Bay State CAP SNAP Benefits. This is not a separate benefit but in some instances can result in higher benefits. However, if you have medical expenses or a high rent or mortgage, Bay State CAP may result in a lower amount.
  • For more information contact Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

Project Bread is an official SNAP Outreach Partner of The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).

As a SNAP Outreach Partner of DTA, Project Bread's role is to make it easier for people in Massachusetts to get SNAP and help anyone having trouble applying.