Healthy Incentives Program

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HIP was suspended April 15, 2018, due to a lack of funds resulting from the program’s popularity. Advocates and legislators are working to renew funding.

Click here to visit the MA Food System Collaborative's page for details on the suspension of the Healthy Incentives Program and the campaign to refund the program.



What is HIP?

The Healthy Incentives Program, or HIP, can help you buy more locally grown fruits and vegetables. When you buy fruits and vegetables with SNAP at participating farmers’ markets, mobile markets, farm stands or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share programs, you will earn extra money on your SNAP/EBT card.

If you have questions about HIP that are not covered below, or need assistance in another language, call the Project Bread Food Access Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

How does HIP work?

SNAP (formerly Food Stamp) dollars spent on eligible fruits and vegetables will earn HIP up to a maximum monthly benefit based on the size of your household. You must buy from participating farms to earn HIP – you can not earn HIP by shopping at a grocery store. You will need to spend SNAP on fruits and vegetables to earn HIP. The benefit is added directly back to your SNAP/EBT card and can be used towards any future SNAP eligible purchase.

What is the maximum HIP benefit I can earn each month?

Depending on the size of your household, you can earn up to an additional:

  • $40 for 1-2 member households
  • $60 for 3-5 member households
  • $80 for 6+ member households

per month on top of your regular monthly benefits.

Where can I earn HIP benefits?

HIP was suspended April 15, 2018, due to popularity of the program and consequent lack of funds. Advocates and legislators are working to renew funding.

Click here to visit the MA Food System Collaborative's page for details on the suspension of the Healthy Incentives Program and the campaign to refund the program.

You can follow the “HIP-Healthy Incentives Program, Pioneer Valley” Facebook page for updates on HIP locations, vendors, and products.

What foods can I buy to earn HIP?

HIP-eligible foods are fresh, canned, dried and frozen fruits and vegetables without added sugar, salt, fats or oils.

For example, onions, pears, broccoli, fresh herbs, canned tomatoes, applesauce, frozen berries, and dried mushrooms, are all HIP foods. Vegetable seeds and starter plants for your garden (e.g., tomato seeds or tomato plants) are also eligible for HIP. Food items that do not qualify include vegetable and fruit juices (including apple cider), creamed or sauced vegetables, dried spices and herbs. You can find a full list of HIP-eligible foods here.

FAQ

Can I buy foods other than fruits and vegetables with my earned HIP incentive?

Yes, the earned HIP incentive can be spent on any SNAP-eligible foods. It can be used right away, or saved for a future purchase at any retailer that accepts SNAP.

What happens to my HIP benefits if I don’t use them?

Any SNAP dollars you’ve earned through HIP will roll over from month to month, same as all SNAP benefits. However, potential benefits you have not earned yet do not carry over between months.

For example, if a family of four (whose maximum potential benefit each month would be $60) only buys $40 worth of local produce at a farmers’ market or farm stand in a given month, they lose out on that last $20 they could have earned with HIP.

At the top of my receipt, it says “HIP Earned Month to Date.” Is that how much SNAP money I have left to spend?

No – it’s keeping track of how much of your HIP benefit you’ve already used this month. Once your “HIP Earned Month to Date” is equal to your monthly cap (based on your household size), you’ve used up all the HIP you can earn that month.

To find out how much SNAP you have left to spend, check the “FS Balance” on your receipt or call the phone number on the back of your EBT card (1-800-997-2555).

How do I keep track of my HIP benefit balance?

The HIP benefit is added back to your SNAP/EBT card as soon as you buy HIP eligible fruits and vegetables from participating farmers. Your receipt will show your SNAP account balance, the HIP incentive earned for that purchase, as well as the total HIP incentive you have earned that month. You may also call the number on the back of your EBT card (1-800-997-2555) to check your SNAP or HIP balance.

How can I get the most from my HIP benefit?

Spend your SNAP dollars on fruits and vegetables with participating HIP farmers before you spend your SNAP dollars on other SNAP-eligible foods. That way, the HIP benefit will rebate your SNAP purchases (up to the maximum cap per month—see above), and you can then spend your SNAP dollars on any other SNAP-eligible food purchase.

Your potential to earn extra SNAP money through HIP is reset on the first day of the month, no matter which day your regular SNAP benefits are deposited—so every time a new month rolls around, you have another $40-$80 to earn. Don’t miss out on free money—make sure you earn your full amount of extra SNAP each month!

Who should I contact if I have any problems using my SNAP/EBT card for HIP?

For questions or concerns regarding your EBT card call 1-800-997-2555, the number on the back of your card.

Who do I call if I have questions about HIP?

For questions about how HIP works or where you can use your HIP benefit please call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333. More information about the program can be found online at: mass.gov/hip. You may also email the Department of Transitional Assistance at DTA.HIP@state.ma.us.