Massachusetts EBT Card: How To Use Your SNAP Benefits

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Your Massachusetts Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT card) will come in handy at stores statewide and even online.

Once you’ve gone through the application process for SNAP and been approved, your EBT card will arrive in the mail. You may also have the option to pick up your card at a local DTA office. Here’s how to begin using your benefits:

Set Up a Card Pin & Check Balance

Now that your card has arrived and you have been approved for the program, the next step is to set up a PIN for the card. There are rare occasions where your EBT card may arrive before your case is approved. You can still PIN the card, but there may not be an available balance yet.

Benefits are electronically transferred onto the card once your case is approved, but when the card arrives, you will need to set up a 4-digit pin number by calling the EBT Customer Service Line (located on the back of your card) at 1-800-997-2555. Make sure to select a pin number that you will be able to remember.

Please note: It is also possible that you may be categorically eligible for $0, meaning that when your income and expense information was calculated, the amount of SNAP benefits you qualified for was $0. However, you are still considered a SNAP recipient and can receive any associated benefits, such as utility discounts. For questions or concerns around a $0 balance, contact the DTA Assistance Line at 1.877.382.2363.

Shop for Groceries

Once your pin is set and there are benefits on your card, you can start shopping at any store that accepts EBT. Look out for the familiar SNAP logo on store signage, or check online. Some common places that accept SNAP both in-person AND online are Amazon, Stop & Shop, Walmart, ALDIs, Hannaford, and Price Chopper. For more information on shopping online with your EBT card, visit this website.

Because SNAP is a federal program, you are able to use your benefits to shop outside of Massachusetts where EBT benefits are accepted. However; if you reside in another country or state or leave Massachusetts, for example -- during the winter months, you will need to close your case in the state of Massachusetts. You can reapply once you have returned.

SNAP sign in shop window.
SNAP sign in shop window.

Please note: SNAP cannot be used to buy alcohol, tobacco, personal care items, or hot food. However, some people have an EBT card for their Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) cash assistance benefits. TAFDC benefits can be used to purchase food and non-food items. For information on TAFDC eligibility, contact your local DTA office.

Participate in the Healthy Incentives Program

SNAP recipients are also automatically enrolled in the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP).

HIP puts funds back on your EBT card when you use SNAP to buy healthy, local fruits and vegetables from HIP farm vendors (up to a monthly cap of $40, $60, or $80 depending on household size), so you can extend your food budget each month.

You can spend your HIP benefits on fruits and vegetables at approved HIP vendors which include farmer's markets, farm stands, mobile markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) farm share programs. Find HIP vendors near you here.

older woman holding fruits and vegetables in a basket

Get Involved with Card to Culture

The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Mass Cultural Council have partnered together with cultural institutions across the Commonwealth to offer discounted admission to EBT card holders. While each organization offers different discounts, you can find more about all the participating organizations here, and keep your EBT card on hand to show onsite for entry. The EBT card is used only to indicate that you are eligible for the discount; the card is not for payment.  If there is an entry fee, you will need to pay with other means that the organization accepts (cash, credit card).

We're here for you!

The FoodSource Hotline is always there for you! If you have any questions about using your EBT card, navigating the HIP program, or how to apply for and use SNAP, call us at 1.800.645.8333 or send us a chat message today.

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