DTA COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ on food assistance (SNAP) and economic assistance (TAFDC, EAEDC) from the Department of Transitional Assistance related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).​

This information may be updated frequently. Please check back regularly for updates.

Table of Contents

General

1. I recently lost my job or my hours were significantly reduced due to COVID-19. Can I apply for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits or economic assistance (TAFDC, EAEDC)?

Yes. To learn how to apply and find out if you are eligible, please visit the SNAP and Economic Assistance FAQs below.

2. My employer has shut down temporarily because an employee is sick and we have been asked to isolate or quarantine as a result of COVID-19. Can I get DTA benefits?

You might be eligible for DTA benefits. To learn how to apply and find out if you are eligible, please visit the SNAP and Economic Assistance FAQs below.

3. I am receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Am I eligible for assistance from DTA?

You may be eligible for assistance, but unemployment insurance benefits are considered a countable income for all DTA programs and will be considered in determining benefit eligibility. 

The federal government recently approved additional unemployment payments for recipients. These payments are also countable when determining benefit eligibility.

4. I just got money from the federal government as a recovery rebate. Will this affect my DTA benefits?

No. The individual rebates ($1,200 for eligible adults and $500 for each eligible child) provided under the CARES Act is non-countable income for SNAP, TAFDC and EAEDC. You do not need to let DTA know if you received this.  

5. I currently get DTA benefits. If the COVID-19 pandemic continues for several months, will DTA continue to issue benefits?

Yes. Benefits will continue normally. If you have lost your job or have reduced hours, you may be eligible for an increase in your benefits. Learn how you can easily tell DTA about any changes to your circumstances, like job status or household, here.

6. How do I check my EBT card balance?

Check the available balance on your EBT card by:

  • Downloading the DTA Connect Mobile App,
  • Calling the automated DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363, or
  • Calling the EBT Customer Service number (800) 997-2555 (which is also on the back of your EBT card).

7. If DTA offices are closed, how can I get an EBT card?

If you are a new applicant, DTA will mail you an EBT card.

If you lost your card, you can request a replacement by:

  • Visiting DTAConnect.com and under 'My Info', click on Request an EBT Card. Note: this is not available on the DTA Connect mobile app.
  • Calling the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363 and using the automated system to request a new card.

    DTA will mail you the EBT card. Requesting a new EBT card will deactivate your old one.

8. I have an appeal hearing scheduled, but DTA offices are closed. Will I still have it?

Yes, you will still have your appeal hearing at the same date and time. All hearings will be conducted over the phone. 

If you need to reschedule or have any other questions about your appeal, call the Hearings Division at (617) 348-5321.

9. My child used to get free school meals, but now schools are closed. How can I get school meals now?

Call the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline at 800-645-8333 (TTY: 1-800-377-1292), or visit ProjectBread.org/covid19 for school meal site information. The hotline is open Monday- Friday: 8am - 7pm and Saturday: 10am - 2pm. You can also reach out to your local school district for information on meal sites.

10. During these difficult times, how do I contact the DTA Domestic Violence (DV) Unit?

The DTA DV Unit is here by phone to help you. To call the DV Specialist in your area, please click here for Englishclick here for Spanish or here for more languages. If you need to call the domestic violence services in your community, please click here

SNAP

1. How can I find out if I’m eligible for SNAP?

The fastest way to find out if you are eligible is to visit the DTAConnect Screening Tool. You can also apply online at DTAConnect.com or send a paper application.

2. Will grocery stores still accept SNAP EBT cards during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. Grocery stores will accept SNAP EBT cards if they are approved SNAP retailers. Most retailers have signs stating they accept SNAP or EBT.

3. What if I spend all my SNAP benefits before I get benefits again?

Call the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline at 800-645-8333 (TTY: 1-800-377-1292) for other food resources. The hotline is open Monday- Friday: 8am - 7pm and Saturday: 10am - 2pm.

4. Am I going to get more SNAP benefits?

In response to COVID-19, you will get additional emergency SNAP benefits in beginning of April and May if you do not already get the maximum monthly amount. In order to receive this additional benefit, your DTA case must have been active in the month prior. Example: to receive the May benefit, your case must have been active in April.  
You will still receive your normal benefit amount in April and May. If eligible for emergency supplemental SNAP benefits, you will also receive the difference between what your normal issuance amount is and the maximum amount for your household size (e.g. if your normal allotment is $150 and the maximum allotment for your household is $194, you will receive $44 in addition to the $150 you receive, bringing you to a total of $194 for the month).​ You can find the SNAP maximum benefit levels – based on your household size -- here.

5. What if grocery stores have less food on their shelves when my SNAP benefits are issued?

Retailers are doing their best to keep items in stock. You can check with the store to find out when items will be back in stock.

If you need additional food help, call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 800-645-8333 (TTY: 1-800-377-1292).

6. My family member is quarantined at home. Can I food shop for them with their EBT card?

Any person included in your SNAP case can use your EBT card without telling DTA, as long as they have the PIN. Outside of your household members, only share your EBT card and PIN with a trusted family member or friend. If a family member or friend is going to shop for you regularly, you must give DTA signed, written permission telling us who will be shopping for you. You can submit this through the DTAConnect mobile app, by fax, or by mail.

7. My SNAP interim report/recertification is coming up, but DTA has not processed my paperwork yet. Will I lose my benefits?

No. If your SNAP interim report or recertification is due in March, April, May or June it will be automatically extended. You do not need to take any action at this time, unless you want to make DTA aware of a change in your circumstances.

8. Where can I find tips on how to stay active while I am working at home or guidelines on ways to freeze food?

DTA’s SNAP Nutrition Education website has information and tips on how to stay active and healthy eating.

9. Can I still earn Healthy Incentive Program (HIP) benefits?

Yes, you can earn HIP benefits at participating retailers near you. You can find available HIP retailers on the Mass Grown Map, which is updated with the latest information. 

Economic Assistance

1. If DTA offices are closed, how can I apply for TAFDC or EAEDC (cash benefits)?

You can now apply for TAFDC and EAEDC on DTAConnect.com. You can also call your local DTA office to complete an EAEDC and TAFDC application over the phone. The contact information for local DTA offices can be found here

2. How can I find out if I’m eligible for TAFDC or EAEDC?

Find out if you may be eligible for TAFDC here and EAEDC here.

3. My TAFDC reevaluation is coming up, but DTA has not processed my paperwork yet. Will I lose my benefits?

If your reevaluation is due in March, April, May or June it will be automatically extended. You do not need to take any action at this time.

4. Do I need to see my doctor to verify my disability?

If you are currently getting EAEDC because of a disability and your disability reevaluation date is soon, you do not need to take any action at this time. If you are exempt from the TAFDC work program requirement because of a disability, you also do not need to take any action at this time.

Employment Services

1. What if I have a work program requirement and I can’t participate in my TAFDC Employment Service Program or SNAP Employment & Training Program?

Because of school, childcare, and business closures, DTA has temporarily suspended certain work program requirements. You do not have to tell DTA at this time if you can’t participate. If your program is moving classes online, they will tell you. DTA encourages you to continue to participate virtually.

While this temporary exemption from work program requirements remains in effect, DTA will not count months towards your 24-month time limit on TAFDC benefits.

2. If I can’t participate in my employment service program and my child is enrolled in subsidized childcare, will my child still be eligible for care once all programs reopen?

Yes. The temporary closures of all child care programs and the temporary suspension of work program requirements will not impact eligibility for child care.

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