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FOOD

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
Elders and disabled folks do not have to go to DTA office for food stamps.
Business can be done via phone, fax or internet.
For SNAP application, call DTA, (800) 249-2007
SNAP Hotline: 866-950-3663
SNAP recipient service line: 1-800-445-6604

Food Pantries and Free Meals In Massachusetts

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Health and Human Services is proud to sponsor an Internet site dedicated to sharing information about community services and resources for people without homes. This Internet site lists resources according to region and service type.

 

UTILITIES (phone, electricity, gas & oil) 

City of Boston – Fuel Assistance Resources

Massachusetts utility companies (including phone) that offer discount rates to eligible low-income customers

Utility arrearage programs help Massachusetts households pay overdue utility bills. Utility arrearage programs help households prevent utility shutoffs or restore utility service that has already been shut off. The programs offer payment plans, debt forgiveness, or a combination of the two. Arrearage Management Programs (AMPs)

Utility Payment Plans

Many communities in Massachusetts also have local fuel assistance programs run by city/town departments or charitable organizations. Local programs help area residents who are facing a fuel emergency and do not qualify for other programs, or have used up their benefits.

The Federal Emergency Food & Shelter Program gives federal funds to local nonprofit and government organizations to help prevent hunger and homelessness. Local organizations can use funds to pay up to one month’s utility bill for residents facing a fuel emergencyEFSP Funded Organizations , Select “Massachusetts” then your county from drop-down list

MASSCAP: fuel and food assistance, early education and care and Head Start, adult basic education and job training, affordable housing, financial education and asset development, and more

The Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program was created for people who are struggling to pay their heating bills in Massachusetts.

Internet Essentials from Comcast for as little as $9.95/mo plus taxes for qualified low-income families. 

The Lifeline benefit program: Lifeline can help provide crucial connectivity to families that would otherwise not be able to afford a mobile phone or landline. A great explanation of the program can be found here.

Mass 2-1-1 is a comprehensive information and referral service that connects callers to information about critical health, human services and disaster/emergency response and recovery in their community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you are unable to reach 2-1-1 due to your telephone or cell phone carrier, a toll-free number is available: 1-877-211-6277.  TTY number is 508-370-4890. Email: mass211@gmail.com Websites: www.mass211.org & www.mass211help.org.

 

TRANSPORTATION

MassHealth members who need non-emergency transportation to and from medical appointments may be eligible for free transportation services. Eligible members who use private or public transportation can get reimbursement for their transportation expenses. Eligible members who need dial-a-ride services can get van or taxi service free of charge. Call MassHealth at 1-800-841-2900 to for more information about medical related transportation.

Individuals who apply for or recertify for THE RIDE will participate in a new in-person assessment process at the MBTA’s THE RIDE Eligibility Center (TREC), located at 500 Rutherford Ave, 3rd floor, Charlestown. Assessments will be managed and administered by Innovative Paradigms, a California-based company.

The assessment process is not a medical determination of whether or not a rider has a disability. Disability alone does not determine ADA eligibility. Instead, the decision is based on a customer’s ability to use the MBTA’s general public transportation.

To begin your application or recertification, call the TREC at 617-337-2727 to set up an appointment. You will not have to submit a paper application in advance. You may bring information provided by a healthcare provider if you wish, but this is optional. THE RIDE will provide free transportation to your appointment for yourself and one person, or free parking is available onsite if you get a ride from friends or family. The process will start with a 30-minute interview with a staff Mobility Coordinator, after which some applicants will be asked to participate in a functional assessment to test key skills such as walking, balance, and locating bus stops. The entire assessment may take up to 90 minutes. Applicants will be able to explain their circumstances in detail to the Mobility Coordinator, and family, friends, or caregivers can participate in the interview. Mobility Coordinators will also reach out to healthcare personnel to verify disabilities that cannot be tested in a functional assessment, such as visual impairment or psychiatric disabilities. Based on the results, you may be found eligible, temporarily eligible, conditionally eligible, or not eligible for THE RIDE. If you disagree with the results of your assessment, you have a right to appeal. To learn more, you can find additional information on THE RIDE’s webpage, or you can contact the TREC at 617-337-2727

New Ride Eligibility Process and Contact Information prepared by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (Word)

Outside of Boston:

North: Greater Lynn Senior Services 1-888-319-7433 (Voice) /1-800-521-0420 (TTY) 

Northwest: Veteran Tranportation Services 1-877-765-7433 (Voice) / 1-888-553-8294 (TTY) 

South:  The Joint Venture TTI/YCN 1-888-920-7433 (Voice) / 1-888-607-7757 (TTY)

MBTA T fares and passes are reduced for seniorspersons with disabilitiespassengers who are blind/visually impaired

Massachusetts DOT Regional Transit Authority Map. Find Fixed Route, ParaTransit, Shared Ride and Door to Door transportation services in your area

Massachusetts Association of Regional Transit Authorities (MARTA)

MAB Community Services has volunteers available for transportation for those that are legally blind in Worcester county area. Call (508) 854-0700 for intake. Donation – couple of dollars 

Good News Garage is working hard to find good donated cars in Massachsetts to help qualified low-income families.

The Original Charity Cars (DBA Free Charity Cars) is a 501-C-3 non-profit charity, EIN 59-3362703. Established in 1996, our founding mission is to provide refurbished donated vehicles to struggling individuals or qualified entities.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

How do I file for Social Security (What is SSI vs. SSDI)?

This link describes the steps to take to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. Please call your local NAMI affiliate or our office at 800-370-9085 if you need additional help.

Organizations that represent people applying for social security disability insurance (SSDI) include:
Most of the legal aid agencies provide assistance on a sliding scale and you can locate the agency to contact here.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of specialized services for those with disabilities, including Social Security Disability Insurance representation and Medicare plan selection services. Allsup experts have helped more than 120,000 people receive SSDI and Medicare benefits. The company is headquartered in Belleville, Ill., and has approximately 600 employees located around the country. For more information, call (800) 279-4357, ext. 2020. Ask about their fee schedule.

Two other national groups have referral lists of representatives who can help you with Social Security claims or appeals:  The National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR) at 1-800-747-6131, or the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) , at 1-800-431-2804.

The Social Security and Disability Resource Center website provides answers to questions concerning how to apply for disability, how to appeal a claim in the event of a denial, how to navigate the federal system, and how to avoid certain mistakes that are commonly made by applicants filing for either SSD (social security disability) or SSI (supplemental security income).

Jon Rodis, President-MA Chapter of the National Marfan Foundation, Chair-Physicians Awareness Committee, National Disability Advocate, Charges No Fee for his services, JR Website: www.jrmarfan58.com

Ron Eskin, Law Office of Ronald B. Eskin PC, 228 Central Street, Lowell MA 01852, (978) 937-1600.

Mark Bronstein, 288 Walnut Street, Suite 120, Newton, MA 02460, (617) 244-5551, mark@bronsteinlaw.com.

Sarah Boonin, Assistant Professor, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont Street, Suite 190, Boston, MA 02108, (617) 573-8479, sboonin@suffolk.edu.

 

How do I Apply for Disability Benefits for Children under Age 18?

Social Security Online explains the steps involved in applying for disability benefits for children. An application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and a Child Disability Report are required. The Child Disability Starter Kit answers questions about applying for SSI for children and includes a worksheet that can help you gather the information you need to apply.

What Happens to My SSI When I Turn 18 (PDF)

 

Where can I find information about what my insurance/Medicaid/Medicare benefits will cover?

For these and other Medicaid and Medicare concerns, you may also contact the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) online, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).  Many families and individuals have found additional Medicare and Social Security assistance through the Medicare Rights Center: Your Guide through the Medicare Maze, which provides their MRC Consumer Hotline at 1-800-333-4114 (Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm, EST).

 

How do I apply for MassHealth (Medicaid in Massachusetts)?

This brochure briefly explains what MassHealth is, what it offers, who can get it, and how to apply.  It also describes other available health-care programs. Please call your local affiliate or our office if you need additional help. This enrollment process can take up to 60 days or more. El folleto en Español

For questions about MassHealth as well as all other health insurance you can contact Health Care For All at 1-800-272-4232.

A new service from MassHealth provides an Ombudsman for people with disabilities.  This office will provide personal assistance explaining the processes, understanding requirements and will give hands-on assistance filling out forms over the telephone.

Here is a list of what is available.

  • Publications in Large Print
  • Publications in Electronic Format
  • TTY
  • Personal Assistance via telephone/email
  • Personal assistance in person
  • Publications in Braille
 
MassHealth Disability Accommodation Ombudsman
100 Hancock Street, 6th Floor, Quincy, MA 02171

masshealthhelp@ehs.state.ma.us 617-847-3468     TTY: 617-847-3788

How do I apply for Food Stamps?

The new name of the Food Stamp program is SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Elders and people with disablities do not have to go to DTA office for food stamps. Business can be done via phone, fax or internet. For SNAP application, call DTA, (800) 249-2007
SNAP Hotline: 866-950-3663
SNAP recipient service line: 1-800-445-6604
(on line application available)
To locate an office near you click DTA Offices

Frequently Asked Questions for Massachusetts Residents with Disabilities

Where can I apply for some financial help?

Even if you’ve applied for SSI or SSDI the process takes months or longer and you need some financial help until then if you are unable to work. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA formerly known as “Welfare”) serves one out of every twelve people in the Commonwealth – including working families, children, elders, and people 17 with disabilities. Their services include food and nutritional assistance, cash assistance, employment supports, and emergency shelter.

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) is a state and federally funded program which provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women in the last 120 days of pregnancy, with little or no assets or income. It is operated under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and is described in the Commonwealth’s TANF State Plan. Participants receive child care and transportation support associated with job assistance and can access a number of supportive referrals to substance abuse and mental health services, and domestic violence specialists. As part of TAFDC, participants may be required to perform a work-related activity in order to receive benefits. DTA provides job assistance to TAFDC participants including job training, job search, and placements into jobs. Other key services include Access to Basic Education, English for Employment, Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) assistance, work readiness and skills training. It is especially important for clients to gain employment during their time on TAFDC as recipients are limited to 24 months of assistance in any continuous 60-month period. DTA offers many job assistance programs to provide clients with access to employment and training opportunities.

To be eligible for TAFDC, a recipient must meet certain requirements including:

  • Have at least one dependent child under 18 or 19 (including teen parents) OR
  • Pregnant women with no children (the child is expected to be born within 120 days of the application)
  • Meet income and asset limits
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant
  • Live in Massachusetts

 

The Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC) is a state funded program which provides cash assistance to those in need to stabilize their lives. To receive EAEDC, recipients must meet certain requirements including one or more of the following:

  • Unable to work due to a physical or mental incapacity which has lasted or will last at least 60 days and meets the Department-established medical standards for disability;
  • Over 65 years old and waiting for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments to begin;
  • Caring for a child living in the home and not related to the individual;
  • Participating in a Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission program; or
  • Required to be in the home to care for an incapacitated individual who would have to be institutionalized if someone does not provide the care in the home.
  • Meet income and asset limits
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant.

For more help applying for public assistance, call the Application Information Unit at 1-800-249-2007. There are Transitional Assistance offices located across the Commonwealth. To locate the office covering a city or town, call the Application Information Unit at 1-800-249-2007.

 

Where can I find a Health Safety Net Provider of  Dental Services?

The Division of Health Care Finance and Policy has adopted the following Health Safety Net policy regarding dental services for individuals covered by MassHealth Standard, MassHealth Basic, MassHealth Essential, MassHealth CommonHealth, MassHealth Family Assistance/Direct Coverage, and Commonwealth Care Plan Type 1. For MassHealth members, this policy applies to individuals ages 21 and older who are not developmentally disabled. For Commonwealth Care members, this policy applies to all members in Plan Type 1.

The Health Safety Net will pay for the following services provided to these individuals by Community Health Centers, Hospital-Licensed Health Centers and acute hospital satellite clinics:

  • Restorative (fillings)
  • Endodontic (root canal)
  • Periodontic (deep scaling)
  • Crowns
  • Dentures (full, partial, or repair)
  • Surgical procedures related to full or partial dentures

MassHealth Dental Program

Massachusetts Community Health Centers with Dental Programs

 

I cannot afford my medication fees or medical insurance. Where can I go for financial assistance?

Unfortunately NAMI Mass cannot provide direct financial assistance. However, some pharmaceutical companies offer prescription assistance programs for low-income individuals and families. These programs typically require a doctor’s consent and proof of financial status. They may also require that you have either no health insurance, or no prescription drug benefit through your health insurance.  Click here to view the list of pharmaceutical companies and their contact information. Click here to view a list of pharmacy generic programs that can also help to lower your overall medication costs.

Your community mental health care center may offer medication and mental health care services on a sliding scale basis and in some cases free services. Your local NAMI Affiliate may be able to help you locate this center.

Also, you may wish to visit the Free & Low Cost Health Care Service Locator and the League of Community Health Centers of Massachusetts for a list of local services that are on a free or sliding scale basis.

For these and other Medicaid and Medicare concerns, you may also contact the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) online, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).  Many families and individuals have found additional Medicare and Social Security assistance through the Medicare Rights Center: Your Guide through the Medicare Maze, which provides their MRC Consumer Hotline at 1-800-333-4114 (Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm, EST).