Federal and state SNAP rules provide for replacement of food lost by individual SNAP recipients due to "household misfortune." Household misfortune includes fire, flood, loss of electricity (for 4 hours or more), equipment (refrigerator/freezer) failure or other disaster.
To request SNAP replacement benefits, the SNAP household needs to take two steps:
- Step 1: Report the loss within 10 days of the loss (ie. when food was destroyed or became unsafe to eat). This can be done either over the phone or in writing. Call the DTA Assistance Line at 877-382-2363 - after selecting a language, press 5 and then 1.
- Step 2: Complete the DTA "Request for Replacement of Food" (DTA Form SNAP9B, linked below) or write a self-declaration (see * below) and submit it to DTA within 10 days of when the loss of food was first reported. If the household submits this form within 10 days of the food loss, they do not need to make a separate report first.
*The self-declaration should include the following:1) head of household name, address and either their DTA Agency ID or date of birth; 2) the reason for the replacement food request (fire, flooding, power outage, applicance failure etc) and the date the food was lost; 3) the dollar value of the food lost that was bought with SNAP benefits; and 4) the signature of the head of household along with the words that say "this statement is signed under the penalty of perjury".
To receive the SNAP replacement benefits:
- DTA should issue replacement SNAP benefits within 10 days of getting the report of the food loss, or within 2 days of getting the completed DTA form or sworn statement, whichever date is later.
- DTA can issue up to one month's worth of replacement SNAP benefits (up to the total monthly amount the household receives)
- The fastest way for a household to submit the form or statement is to take a picture of it with a smart phone and upload it through DTA Connect (and by labeling it as a document for household misfortune). The form or statement can also be faxed or mailed. If a household fills out a form or self-declaration right away, they do not need to call the DTA Assistance Line. The written statement or form meets both steps 1 and 2 above.
- DTA is responsible for verifying the loss of power or housing as a result of the misfortune. This can be local news reports of affected areas, information from power companies (for outages) or municipal fire/police departments (in the case of a fire), documentation from a community or other agencies (Red Cross, shelters), statements from appliance repair providers.
- In general, if the 10th day falls on a weekend or holiday, a statement/form received the day after the weekend or holiday should be seen as within the 10 day period and accepted by DTA.
DTA Replacement Request forms, MLRI FAQ and Additional materials:
- MLRI Flier in English and Spanish that explains SNAP replacement benefits including the time frame for reporting
- DTA Statement of Loss/ Request for Replacement of Food -- Form SNAP 9B English and Spanish
- DTA Online Guide information and Q&A on replacement SNAP
- Ops Memo 2013-30: SNAP: General Household Misfortune Procedures
- 106 CMR 364.900(C) -- Massachusetts SNAP regulations for replacement of benefits
- 106 CMR 360.030(F) -- definition of household misfortune ("A loss of food due to (but not limited to) loss of power, fire or flood that is not declared a disaster by the President or the Federal Emergency Management Agency.")