The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

SNAP Replacement Benefits Due To Natural Disaster or Household Misfortune (including power loss and flooding)


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, equipment (refrigerator/freezer) failure or other disaster.

To request SNAP replacement benefits:
  • The SNAP client must report the loss within 10 days of the food loss-- by phone or in writing.  If they get cash benefits, the client should call their DTA case worker. If they only get SNAP, call DTA at 877-382-2363. The client can also mail or fax a written statement  of food loss to DTA. 
  • The client must then complete the DTA request for replacement SNAP form and submit it to DTA.
  • DTA must get it within 10 days after the client reported the loss of food.  (If they submit this form within 10 days of the food loss, they do not need to make a separate report first.) 
  • DTA will confirm what happened by contacting a third party or visiting the client's home.  
  • DTA must issue replacement SNAP quickly - either within 10 days of getting the report of the food loss, or within 2 days of getting the completed form – whichever is later.

DTA can issue up to one month of replacement SNAP. 

Advocacy notes:

  • DTA will ask you to verify 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.
  • If you do not have information confirming the extent of the power loss,  you can ask DTA to make a collateral contact (third party contact) to the power company.
  • 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 the DTA office.

Additional materials:


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PDF icon SNAP replacement CLE-Jan 2015.pdf45.27 KB

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