The Massachusetts State Treasurer's Office of Economic Empowerment (OEE), the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), and the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) are here to help families save for their children's future with SNAP into BabySteps.
Every child who is enrolled in SNAP as well as the BabySteps Savings Plan within one year of their birth or adoption is eligible to receive a monthly deposit of $10 to their MEFA U.Fund 529 account through BabySteps for a period of one year. This benefit will be added to the $50 seed deposit when the U.Fund 529 account is opened, making the total value of deposits $170. Families can enroll in the monthly deposits up to 18 months after their child’s birth or adoption.
To get started, visit mass.gov/SNAPintoBabySteps.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I enroll?
To enroll, visit mass.gov/enroll-in-snap-into-babysteps. As a reminder, your child must be enrolled in both BabySteps and SNAP. If you speak English or Spanish, select the English or Spanish button and fill out the Formstack. If you prefer one of the 13 other top spoken languages, select the language. You will then be prompted to complete a form fillable form and submit it here. Watch the How-To-Enroll video here.
How long will it take for my form to be verified?
It can take between four to eight weeks for us to verify the form, depending on when it was submitted. We will let you know if anything is missing from the submission, so you have a chance to resubmit the information. Once we verify the form, we will notify applicants if they are eligible to participate in the program and when they can expect to see the first deposit.
What if my child was not on SNAP when they enrolled in BabySteps, but got on SNAP after?
As long as your child is enrolled on SNAP by the time they sign up for SNAP into BabySteps, they will be eligible to receive the deposits. Verification forms must be submitted before your child is 18 months old. SNAP Verification forms include one of the two following documents which can be found on https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/ :
- Income Verification Letter
- EBC Notice
What if my child was not enrolled in BabySteps but is on SNAP?
To be eligible for SNAP into BabySteps, your child must be enrolled in BabySteps by having a 529 U.Fund account. You must enroll your child in BabySteps before their first birthday. Visit mass.gov/BabySteps for more information.
If my child is not on SNAP, but I am, can I receive the funding?
To be eligible for the SNAP into BabySteps monthly deposits, the child who is the beneficiary in the BabySteps 529 U.Fund account must be enrolled on SNAP. If you are the child’s parent or guardian and are on SNAP, it is likely that your child is eligible for SNAP as well. Use this link to apply for SNAP through DTA Connect: https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/apply.
Can I submit the verification form if I am not the parent or legal guardian of the child?
Yes! Use “form 2 for non-parent/guardian applicants” to sign up. You will be required to submit proof of the child’s SNAP status through email because we are unable to coordinate with DTA on your verification form.
Can I sign up multiple children for this program?
Yes! Each child should be enrolled with their own 529 U.Fund account, and you will have to submit separate verification forms for each child.
Can I get this funding without submitting the SNAP into BabySteps verification form?
No, submitting the verification form is required to receive the $10 in monthly funding, totaling $120. The form is necessary for us to be able to verify the child’s BabySteps and SNAP eligibility.
How is this money different from the $50 seed?
The $50 BabySteps seed deposit is an upfront deposit issued when someone opens a U.Fund 529 account within one year of their child’s birth or adoption. Every account opened for a child within one year of birth or adoption receives the $50 seed deposit.
This yearlong deposit of $10 per month is only for children who have a U.Fund 529 account through BabySteps and are enrolled in SNAP. Funding for this initiative was allocated in part by the Massachusetts State Legislature in an effort to reach more low- to moderate-income families in the state.
Where do the payments get deposited?
Just like the $50 seed deposit, the $10 monthly payments get deposited into the child’s 529 U.Fund account.
When do the payments get deposited?
The $10 payments will start when your account has been verified. You will receive the $10 once a month for 12 months. You can monitor this by checking your 529 U.Fund account with Fidelity, including through the Fidelity app.
Do I have to enroll in BabySteps by signing up for a 529 U.Fund first?
Yes, you must be eligible for the $50 seed deposit through BabySteps and have already opened a 529 U.Fund account to receive the SNAP into BabySteps deposits.
Will this affect my SNAP benefits or any other benefits?
The deposits from BabySteps or the SNAP into BabySteps program will not affect SNAP eligibility. For other public benefits, review this page on our website to see how funds in 529s affect them: www.mass.gov/doc/babysteps-public-benefits/download.
If I have questions about the SNAP into BabySteps initiative or the BabySteps Savings Plan specifically, where should I go?
On our website at mass.gov/BabySteps where you can access our BabySteps FAQ: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/about-the-babysteps-savings-plan
Please reach out to us by email at BabySteps@tre.state.ma.us
What is a MEFA U.Fund 529 Account?
Every savings account affiliated with the BabySteps Savings Plan will be a MEFA U.Fund 529 account, a tax-advantaged plan authorized by Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. A 529 account is designed to encourage saving for college, vocational school, and other education expenses. These accounts are specifically offered through the Massachusetts U.Fund, which is offered by MEFA and managed by Fidelity Investments.
What is the BabySteps Savings Plan?
Every child born or adopted who is a Massachusetts resident will be eligible* to receive a $50 seed deposit into his or her MEFA U.Fund 529 account from the State Treasurer's Office.
*within one year of birth or adoption
What is MEFA?
MEFA is a state authority, not reliant on state or federal appropriations, established under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 15C. MEFA's mission, since its founding in 1982, has been to help Massachusetts students and families access and afford higher education and reach financial goals through education programs, tax-advantaged savings plans, low-cost loans, and expert guidance. All of MEFA's work aligns with the ever-present goal to support the independence, growth, and success of Massachusetts students and families. Visit mefa.org to learn more or follow MEFA on Twitter @mefatweets, on Facebook at mefaMA, and on Instagram at @mefa_ma.
What is DTA?
The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) assists and empowers low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, improve their quality of life, and achieve long term economic self-sufficiency. DTA serves one in seven residents of the Commonwealth with direct economic assistance (cash benefits) and food assistance (SNAP benefits), as well as workforce training opportunities.
What is the Office of Economic Empowerment?
The Office of Economic Empowerment (OEE) is a department of State Treasurer and Receiver General Deborah B. Goldberg tasked with offering free and accessible financial education, promoting wage equality, and creating a bright future for children across the state. The office delivers programs to all residents of Massachusetts and at every stage of their lives, regardless of their economic background. OEE also offer initiatives tailored to meet the unique financial experiences of veterans, women, high school students, and older adults.
How do I know if my child is eligible for SNAP benefits?
The fastest way to find out if your child is eligible is to visit the DTA Connect Screening Tool. You can also apply online at DTAConnect.com, over the phone via the DTA Assistance Line (877-382-2363 – press 7) or send a paper application. If you need to access a phone or the internet to apply, you can visit a local DTA office to use our phone, scanners and kiosks.