The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

COVID-19 Update 4/1/20 PM: More on SNAP Supp benefits, Info for Retailers re EBT; ABAWD time limit suspended

Greetings again. First, a quick reminder that DTA Central will be hopping on the Central MA SNAP Coalition Zoom call at 10 AM tomorrow if you want to get more updates in the first half hour (see Zoom meeting call in below). You can hop off any time. 

DTA Text Message to Households Receiving SNAP supplement


A number of SNAP households have shared with MLRI the text message they got from DTA: "In response to COVID-19, you will be receiving extra SNAP. Check your balance at DTA-Connect or by calling the number on the back of your EBT card." 


About 55% of SNAP households received the extra SNAP yesterday, 3/31.  Again, only active SNAP recipients not getting the max SNAP benefit got this supplement. Households who do not have a call phone or did not get this text may not yet be aware this SNAP is on their card. Please encourage them to check on DTA Connect or call the EBT Customer Services number on the back of their card and follow the prompts. 


Emergency SNAP Supplement FAQ in Spanish


Attached is a Spanish language version of our flier, also posted here. Reminder all resources are included in our google doc. 


No SNAP 3-month time limit for ABAWDs as of TODAY, April 1st!


The 3 month time limit on the “able bodied without dependents” (ABAWD) population is effectively suspended TODAY due to COVID-19, thanks to a provision in the Families First Act.  


How you can help:

·         Any 18-50 year olds living with SNAP households but  not getting SNAP should be put on the household’s benefit.  You can help flag those cases for DTA and ask to have them included in the household's SNAP benefit. The household can make the request through DTA Connect (upload a statement asking to put XYZ onto the case; or you can call the DTA Ombuds or DTA Assistance Line for the client.

·         Any 18-50 year old living alone, whether or not they got SNAP before, should file a SNAP application. Even if an individual “timed out” in the past, they can apply for SNAP now. And if they have their old EBT card, that can be reactivated (no need for a new EBT card unless defective).  


USDA Info to EBT Retailers re Pre-orders and Curbside Pickup & Pay


USDA communicated yesterday either directly or through their national partners (such as the Food Marketing Institute) that they have a range of options to facilitate food purchase for SNAP households and all other customers. MA does not currently have any EBT Online Purchasing option, and it is a significant IT lift to get there (and ensure local grocers can participate).  So, if and when that is an option, we want to highlight other ways grocers can safely serve SNAP households.  Please check with your local grocers to find out if they will allow pre-ordering (phone, fax, online) with curbside pickup and pay. 



Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 6:08 PM
Subject: Q & A on SNAP and social distancing



Good evening, We wanted to share the below USDA information with you regarding a Q & A on ways to provide groceries to SNAP customers amid social distancing.



Question: I’m a SNAP authorized retailer and am interested in ways to continue to get food to my customers in light of the social distancing recommendations related to COVID-19, what are some options for me?

USDA Answer: There are several options that would allow for a retailer to continue to get food to its SNAP clients in light of the social distancing recommendations related to COVID-19. These include: 

SNAP client places their order online or over the phone and picks it up at the store. If the store has a wireless POS the customer would be able to complete the transaction without having to leave their car.

·       SNAP client places their order online or over the phone and the order is delivered to their designated delivery address. The transaction can be completed using a wireless POS.

·       SNAP client places their order online or over the phone and designates a person to pick the order at the store using the clients EBT card. The transaction can be completed, using the SNAP clients EBT card, in the store or by using a mobile POS device outside of the store.

·       As a last resort, if you do not have a mobile POS, under these extreme circumstances you could complete a manual voucher which the SNAP customer would need to sign in person at the point the voucher is authorized.


Retailers should never accept payment by obtaining a clients’ EBT card number and PIN over the phone. Manual vouchers must be completed when the client is present to sign it, a retailer is not allowed to obtain the EBT card number remotely (e.g. call or email) and complete the voucher without the client present. 

Information regarding manual vouchers, including how they are completed and cleared, can be found at:


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