Food Stamp Programs

Food Stamps

Department of Transitional Assistance | Food Stamps


Food stamp recipients are issued benefits through Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. The EBT cards are debit cards that are magnetically imprinted with the recipient's name, case number, and benefit amount. The recipient takes the EBT card to a grocery store and a machine automatically subtracts the amount spent from the benefit level. EBT cards also serve as photo identification.

The amount of monthly Food Stamp benefits is determined by the level of income, household size and household expenses (rent/ mortgage plus utilities). Income levels cannot exceed 130% of the federal poverty level. There are higher income levels for elderly and disabled households. The household's resources (savings/checking balance, investments, etc.) cannot exceed $2,000 ($3,000 for households where at least one person is 60 years old or over).

There are situations in which an emergency Food Stamp EBT card is issued within seven days of applying (generally on the same day of application).

*The description of Food Stamps was taken from "Down & Out" A Manual on Basic Rights and Benefits for Homeless People in Massachusetts. Year 2000 Edition. © 2000. Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. 288 A Street, Boston, MA 02210


Food Stamp benefits are available to everyone who meets the income and resource guidelines including homeless persons and shelter guests. There are exceptions to this rule. Applications for Food Stamp benefits are available at the local Department of Transitional Assistance office (see below). They are also available by calling the Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.

To apply, a person must sign an application and bring proof of his or her eligibility. Acceptable proof includes social security cards, rent receipts, wage stubs or bank statements, if not working. The client is required to register for work or employment training at the Employment Support Program, show a social security card (or apply for one) and verify any income. Citizenship and residency must be verified only if the worker believes it is questionable.

EBT cards and PINs are mailed to recipients when they are determined eligible. An applicant need not have an address to receive them.

When: n/a
Where: Apply by phone at the Food Source Hotline 800-645-8333 or in person at the Department of Transitional Assistance, 35 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970
Contact: Mr. Ed McNeil
Address: 35 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970
Phone: 978-825-7415
Fax: n/a
Community Teamwork Inc. | Food Stamp Outreach Program


The Food Stamp Outreach Program is designed to educate people about Food Stamps. Individual clients should first call the Food Source Hotline at 800/645-8333. We provide food stamp application training for staff in agencies assisting eligible clients. Community Teamwork then provides literature, information and presentations to potential clients and agency staff regarding food stamps.

Eligibility: Elders on fixed incomes, families transitioning from public assistance, linguistic minorities and working families.
When: Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, evenings
Where: We will provide training to staff at your location.
Contact: Ms. Sheri Denk
Address: 167 Dutton Street Lowell MA 01852
Phone: 978/459-0551 x332
Fax: 978/452-230