Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)

The Basics:

The Departments of Transitional Assistance (DTA), Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and Public Health (DPH) have rolled out the innovative Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) across Massachusetts. HIP is a 100% SNAP matching program that benefits both SNAP participants and local farmers. This program has helped to bring new customers and increased sales to farm stands, mobile markets, CSAs, and farmers’ markets across Massachusetts – to the tune of $4+ million through the first year of the program. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.

Find more info about HIP here on the mass.gov website.

Lane Gardens, a HIP-approved farm retailer, at the HealthFirst farmer’s market in Fall River, MA.

For those receiving EBT/SNAP benefits:

You are already receiving the $40-80 HIP benefit every month!!! Use your HIP benefits at participating farmer’s markets or farm stands today by simply swiping your EBT card with a farmer who is signed up for the program. Not sure where to find those in your area? Use the MassGrown Map to find a location near you. Click on the SEARCH button on the top right of the page. Make sure to edit your zip code, how far you are willing to travel, and enter “HIP” under the Nutrition Programs option. If you are having trouble using the MassGrown Map, contact Olivia Hart at olivia.hart@semaponline.org.

For general inquiries about HIP:

Whether you are a farmer or a SNAP recipient, contact the Department of Transitional Assitance at their general HIP email address: dta.hip@state.ma.us.

Updates and information about state funding and support for HIP:

See the Massachusetts Food System Collaborative website.

At a HIP farmer popup market at Doolan Apartments in Fall River, MA.

How HIP Works:

  • Fruit & vegetable farmers process their own SNAP and HIP transactions at all at farm stands and farmers’ markets. CSA payments can be made using a monthly automated withdrawal system. If you have questions about how to sign up to use your HIP benefits on a local CSA share, contact the DTA at dta.csa@state.ma.us
  • Incentives are calculated and instantly applied directly to the SNAP recipient’s EBT card, available immediately for any future SNAP eligible purchase.
  • SNAP customers will be encouraged to spend their HIP benefits at the farms and farmers’ markets where they earn them.
  • Payments to farmers will be made directly within 1-2 business days.
  • SNAP recipients receive a dollar-for-dollar match of HIP benefits up to a monthly cap based on your household size. Families of 1-2 receive $40 per month, families of 3-5 receive $60 per month, and families of 6 or more receive $80 per month. There is no sign up necessary. If you have SNAP, you have HIP.

Please contact Olivia Hart at olivia.hart@semaponline.org if you would like to learn more about joining the program as a farmer vendor.

If you already know about the program and want to learn the steps of getting your farm signed up to accept SNAP & HIP, see the checklist hereYou can also reach out to David Webber from MDAR, David.Webber@state.ma.us  or  617-626-1754, with any questions about the process of signing up to accept SNAP & HIP for your farm business.

As of writing (September 2020) the State of Massachusetts is not currently accepting new HIP Vendors, however, you are always still able to sign up your farm to accept SNAP benefits if you sell direct to consumers. SEMAP encourages all farmers who would like to accept HIP in the future to sign up to accept SNAP now. In the event that the State allows new vendors to sign up in the future, your farm will be fully ready to immediately accept the benefit.

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