Food stamp eligibility is based on your household income. If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and your income is low enough to meet Massachusetts food stamp eligibility requirements, you can receive food stamp benefits. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you can participate in an expedited program that helps you receive food stamps with minimal paperwork.
The food stamp program in Massachusetts is officially known as SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If you qualify for SNAP benefits, you receive funds each month via an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. You can use the card as you would a credit or check card to purchase food at any store that participates in the SNAP program.
To qualify for SNAP while disabled, you must prove to your Department of Transitional Assistance caseworker that your income is under 200 percent of the federal poverty level for the number of people living in your household. If your household income, including disability payments, is less than this amount, you can receive SNAP benefits.
Bay State CAP
If you apply for or receive SSI, you can opt to participate in the BAY State CAP program. Because SSI is awarded to very low income people, you won't have to complete the same process as non-SSI recipients do to receive food stamps. Instead, the Department of Transitional Assistance uses information from your SSI application and interview to determine your food stamp benefit. This program is intended for people who are already receiving SSI benefits and who need food assistance as well as new applicants to SSI who have reason to believe that they will be approved for SSI within 30 days. If you need expedited food stamp benefits or are unsure as to whether your SSI application will be approved, you may be better off completing the standard SNAP application process.
Massachusetts requires some food stamp recipients to either work or to participate in a work training program. (This rule is sometimes suspended during periods of high unemployment.) Disabled recipients are exempt from this work rule, so if you receive Social Security Disability benefits, you are not required to work or participate in job training in order to maintain your eligibility for food stamps.
Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.