DTA COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ on food assistance (SNAP) and economic assistance (TAFDC, EAEDC) from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) 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 may 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 got $500 through the COVID-19 Essential Employee Premium Pay Program. Will this affect my DTA benefits?

No. This one-time payment is not countable for DTA benefits (SNAP, TAFDC, EAEDC). You do not need to let DTA know if you received this.

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

You may be eligible for benefits. When determining eligibility for DTA programs, unemployment insurance benefits are counted as income.

5. I just got money from the federal government as a recovery rebate (stimulus checks). Will this affect my DTA benefits?

No. None of the following COVID relief individual rebates are considered countable income for SNAP, TAFDC and EAEDC:

  • American Rescue Plan (March 2021) COVID relief payments of $1,400 for eligible adults and $1,400 for each eligible dependent/child
  • Consolidated Appropriations Act (December 2020) COVID relief payments of $600 for each eligible adult and child
  • CARES Act (March 2020) COVID relief payments of $1,200 for eligible adults and $500 for each child

You do not need to let DTA know if you received these.

If you missed any of the COVID stimulus payments, go to FindYourFunds.org to learn how to apply.  

6. I got the Child Tax Credit (CTC) or Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) money from the federal government from my taxes. Will this affect my DTA benefits?

No. Money from the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit do not count for DTA benefits. You do not have to let DTA know if you received these.

If you received monthly Child Tax Credit money in 2021 ($300 per child under 6, $250 per child aged 6 to 17) you need to file taxes to get the second half of the money. If you didn't get the Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit, go to FindYourFunds.org to learn how to apply. 

7. 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).

8. DTA offices are open for limited in-person services. How can I get an EBT card?

Learn all the ways you can get an EBT card.

9. 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. Call the domestic violence services in your community.

10. I am getting FEMA funeral assistance. Will this affect my DTA benefits?

No. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020 is not considered countable income or assets for SNAP, TAFDC and EAEDC. Visit Massachusetts Emergency Management Administration’s (MEMA) website to learn more about the funeral assistance program.

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 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.

2. What are the temporary, pandemic-related extra SNAP benefits?

The temporary, extra SNAP benefits are issued in response to COVID-19. They are available in the beginning of each month for the prior month’s regular SNAP amountFor example: in February, you will receive the extra amount for your January benefits. You will still receive your normal benefit amount on your monthly issuance day.

The extra payment is the difference between your normal benefit amount and the maximum amount for your household size:

  • If your household receives the maximum SNAP amount for your household size: you will get $95 a month
  • If your household does not get the maximum amount for your household size, but the difference is less than $95 a month: you will get $95 a month
  • If your household does not get the maximum amount for your household size, but the difference is more than $95 a month: you will get that difference (see examples below)

Governor Baker’s modified declaration of a public health emergency allows Massachusetts to continue providing these benefits. These temporary benefits will continue as long as there is a state and federal emergency declaration. DTA will notify residents when these special payments end.

Example 1:

Brenda-Lee is a household of 1 and gets $160 a month in regular SNAP. The maximum monthly amount for a household of 1 is $250.

$250 - $160 = $90. Brenda-Lee will receive $95 in extra SNAP.

Example 2:

Dan lives in a SNAP household of 3 and gets $658 a month in regular SNAP. The maximum monthly amount for a household of 3 is $658.

$658 - $658 = 0. Dan’s household will get $95 in extra SNAP.

Example 3:

Nancy lives in a SNAP household of 5 and gets $750 a month in regular SNAP. The maximum monthly amount for a household of 5 is $992.

$992 - $750 = $242. Nancy’s household will get $242 in extra SNAP.

3. Will my SNAP benefits go up because utility costs have been higher this winter?

SNAP eligibility and benefit amounts are based on household income and expenses, including the cost of utilities. DTA received federal approval to adjust the average state utility costs used to calculate SNAP benefit amounts due to the increase in fuel costs this winter. 

DTA is automatically updating cases with this new utility amount starting in your March 2022 benefits. This may increase your monthly SNAP benefits. You do not need to do anything to get this.

If you currently pay for utility costs, but haven’t told DTA, let us know. You can upload proofs through DTA Connect

4. 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.

5. 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 appby fax, or by mail.

6. Can I use my SNAP benefits to buy groceries online?

Yes, you can use your SNAP benefits to buy food online from several different retailers, including BJs, Daily Table, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Amazon and Instacart (multiple retailers).

7. Do I have to complete my SNAP interim report/recertification during COVID-19?

SNAP only cases do not have to complete an interim report at this time. If you also receive TAFDC or EAEDC, you will need to complete an interim report.   

During the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP recertifications were previously extended for some households. Currently, there are no extensions to recertification periods.   

DTA will notify you if you have a SNAP interim report or recertification that must be completed to continue receiving benefits. You will receive these forms in the mail or they can be completed online at DTAConnect.com.

8. Where can I find tips on how to stay active while I am working at home?

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

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

Yes, you can use HIP benefits at participating retailers near you. You can find available HIP retailers on DTAFinder.com, which is updated with the latest information. 

Economic Assistance

1. How can I apply for TAFDC or EAEDC (cash benefits)?

You can 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. 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.

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. Will I get more TAFDC or EAEDC benefits?

The Fiscal Year 2022 budget increases TAFDC and EAEDC benefit amounts. You will see this increase starting with your August 2021 benefits. See the new benefit amounts.

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

If you are applying for EAEDC because you have a disability, we will send you a form that your medical provider will need to fill out. You need to return this form to us. If you are currently getting EAEDC because of a disability, we will send you this form when your case is reviewed and you will need to return it to complete your review.

If you are exempt from the TAFDC work program requirement because of a disability, you do not need to provide anything from a doctor at this time.

5. Will there be a clothing allowance this year?

Yes. If you are eligible to receive TAFDC benefits in September and have an eligible child under age 19, you will receive $350 per eligible child in the end of August. If you start to receive TAFDC during the month of September and have an eligible child, you will receive your childs clothing allowance at a later date.
 
Check your EBT card balance or bank account if you signed up for direct deposit. See General section above for ways to check your EBT card balance. If you have a bank account you can ask your DTA case manager to sign up for direct deposit so your benefits go directly into your bank account.

Employment Services

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

While you are receiving benefits from DTA you have access to many free TAFDC employment programs and SNAP employment and training programs that can help you get the job you want. Whether you need help with your resume or interview skills or you want to get a certificate through a training program, DTA can help connect you with an option that fits you and your family’s needs.

If you are required to participate in programing but are unable to do so because you are having difficulty finding childcare, you have a family crisis or something else is happening, tell your worker what is going on. DTA staff will work with you to find an option that works for you and your family.

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