SNAP Recipients note that the MA-funded Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) has begun again and benefits refresh on the first of every month. You must spend to earn each and every month to get the monthly HIP benefit amount; if you don't earn it each month, you lose the benefit. Once earned, it becomes SNAP funds once again and can be spent at any time in the future,
Be sure when you visit HIP-approved farms, farmstands, farmers’ markets and mobile markets to purchase your eligible fruits and vegetables that you have a SNAP balance, then pay the farmer directly with your SNAP-EBT card to earn automatic HIP rewards.
See below for more information on SNAP (federal food stamps) and HIP (state-funded Health Incentive Program).
SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the program formerly known as food stamps. It is a federal nutrition program that helps you stretch your food budget and buy healthy food.
SNAP benefits can be used to purchase food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and some farmers’ markets and co-op food programs.
SNAP benefits are given to you each month on a plastic card called an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card, which works like a debit card. Paper coupons are no longer used. (Text borrowed from http://www.gettingfoodstamps.org/whatissnap.html)
The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) matches your SNAP purchases of local fruits and vegetables when shopping at farmers markets, farm stands, mobile markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share programs. Spend your SNAP dollars on farm-fresh fruits and vegetables at participating HIP retailers and have the amount of your purchase instantly added back to your EBT card!
From now, until March 31st, 2020, using your SNAP benefits at one of the participating HIP retailers lets you earn additional dollars in SNAP benefits for each dollar you spend on HIP eligible fruits and vegetables, up to your monthly cap. You can see the amount of HIP benefits earned on your receipt after making each HIP purchase. Spend your earned benefit right away for even more healthy foods!
Your monthly cap depends upon your household size. Households of 1-2 can earn up to $40 per month, 3-5 members $60, and households with 6 or more members can earn up to $80. When a SNAP customer swipes their SNAP/EBT card for fruit and vegetable purchases, an equal amount of HIP reward dollars are immediately and automatically added back to their cards, up to the monthly cap. For example, if a family uses their SNAP benefits to buy $15 of fresh produce at a farmers’ market, a credit of $15 will be immediately returned to their EBT card. Find out more about HIP at: http://www.mass.gov/agr/