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40. What if I am homeless or live in a shelter?

ALERT:  Many of the rules in the SNAPAdvocacy Guide do NOT apply during the pandemic. Please go to the following COVID-19 & DTA benefits page: https://www.masslegalservices.org/DTA-COVID-19 until further notice for more information about changes.

You do not need a permanent address, cooking facilities or a regular place to live to get SNAP. 106 C.M.R.§362.100. You can get benefits if you live on the street, are staying at a homeless shelter or a shelter for victims of domestic violence. 106 C.M.R.§361.240(B). You can also get SNAP even if you get free meals at the shelter or soup kitchen/meals program.

If you do not have an address where you can regularly pick up mail, you can have mail from DTA sent to a local organization such as a shelter that accepts mail for clients, or to a U.S. Post Office Box. If needed, you can also pick up your DTA mail at your local DTA local office if you sign a DTA “Using TAO for Mailing Address” form.

When you apply, DTA will ask for proof of your identity. 106 C.M.R.§361.610(G). If you do not have any ID, there are many ways you can prove who you are. This includes a written statement from a staff person at a soup kitchen, detox program or shelter. 106 C.M.R.§361.640(B). DTA will also ask for and verify your SSN. Once verified, your SSN serves at proof of identity.

If you are placed in Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter or are transferred while in EA, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) should update your address with DTA directly. However, you should still confirm DTA has your correct address. See Question 19.

You may also qualify for emergency or expedited SNAP. See Question 3. And the $152 homeless deduction should be used to calculate your countable income. See Question 86

Homeless ABAWDs: If you are between age 18 and 49 without children and lack a stable nighttime residence, you may be exempt from the ABAWD (able-bodied without dependents) three-month time limit. You can call the DTA Assistance Line to claim an exemption or complete a special DTA ABAWD Homeless Exemption Form. See Question 61.  

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