There’s a ton of EBT information out there, and keeping track of it all can be overwhelming. Our goal at Fresh EBT is to make it easier to manage your EBT benefits, so we’re breaking down all the basics in one handy guide.
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The Bay State Access Card is Massachusetts’s EBT card.
EBT = electronic benefits transfer.
EBT card = a card that looks and works like a debit or credit card but is loaded with food stamps and/or cash benefits. You can use it at stores that accept EBT.
You’ll get the Bay State Access Card once you’re approved for benefits.
Massachusetts’s EBT customer service number is 1-800-997-2555.
For most Massachusetts households, that period is:
- 6 months for people who don’t have children or disabilities (what the government calls an ABAWD)
- 12 months for households with children or households that get cash assistance
- 24 months for households with elderly (60+) or disabled people
- 36 months for Bay State CAP households.
Most households only have to report these changes twice a year (at the halfway point and when you reapply):
- When someone moves in or out of your household.
- Financial changes like income, rent, savings, or child support.
Most households should report these 2 changes no more than 10 days after they happen:
- When your household income goes over the monthly income limit. This could be because someone starts making more money or someone with income moves in.
- When an adult without a disability or a child (what the government calls an ABAWD) who was working or training 20 hours/week starts working or training less.
If you can’t find your EBT card, call the Massachusetts EBT hotline as soon as you can: 1-800-997-2555.
If someone manages to use your card, you may not be able to get those benefits back, so make sure you call right away!
You can use food stamps to buy groceries, snacks, and seeds or plants that will produce food.
You can’t use food stamps to buy alcohol, tobacco products, vitamins, live animals, prepared foods, or any non-food household items.
WIC food packages typically include cereal, juice, eggs, milk, peanut butter, dried and canned beans, tofu, fruits and vegetables, and whole-wheat bread. WIC packages also include canned fish and cheese for breastfeeding moms, and baby food for babies.
Once your child is born, your household size will increase. More household members = more benefits.
While you are pregnant, you can’t get more food stamps, but you can apply for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits.
WIC provides food and resources for pregnant women, new parents, and children up to 5 years old.
If you have a child who’s 18 or younger, you may qualify for cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
TANF provides monthly cash assistance to help families with children get by during tough times.