Healthy Incentives Program & SNAP

Interested in becoming a SNAP vendor? See the orange link above.
Looking to learn more about the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)? Continue reading:

Healthy Incentives Program (HIP)

The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) with the support of the Departments of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and Public Health (DPH).

HIP, which went into effect April 2017, is a SNAP matching program that benefits both SNAP participants and local farmers. This exciting program helps bring new customers and increased sales to your farm stand, your CSA, and to farmers’ markets where you sell. SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Find more info about HIP here.

How Does HIP Work?

  • Fruit & vegetable farmers process their own SNAP and HIP transactions at farm stands and farmers’ markets. CSA payments can be made using a monthly automated withdrawal system.
  • Incentives are calculated and instantly applied directly to the SNAP recipient’s EBT card, available immediately for any future SNAP eligible purchase. Customers can earn up to a monthly cap, based on household size.
  • SNAP customers are encouraged to spend their HIP benefits at the farms and farmers’ markets where they earn them.
  • Payments to farmers are made directly within 1-2 business days.

Why HIP?

  • More healthy, local food for hundreds of thousands of families receiving SNAP benefits
  • New customers and sales for local farmers
  • Investment in the local economy
  • Lowered healthcare costs correlated with increased consumption of fruits and vegetables

HIP Retailer FAQs

  • Is HIP active? HIP is active and currently running year-round.
  • How can I get free equipment to process SNAP and HIP? Currently, retailers can get free landline EBT equipment. Retailers that don’t yet have a POS system for accepting SNAP can also get partially covered mobile EBT equipment that is partly covered by the easy-to-fill-out MarketLink grant application. More information on both of these equipment opportunities under “Step 2” at this link.
  • How do I run a HIP transaction on the TotilPay (mobile) equipment? Watch this handy video to see!
  • If I enter a “Purchase Amount” under SNAP and a “HIP Amount” on the next screen, am I charging the person twice? No – in fact, every SNAP or HIP purchase made with your device should include both a SNAP amount and a HIP amount. The HIP amount is a subset of the SNAP amount, and shows how much of the SNAP purchase made is eligible for the HIP incentive rebate—this means that the amount entered as the “Purchase Amount” should be the entire price of the transaction, including the amount that is HIP eligible. Please remember to enter the HIP-eligible amount for every SNAP purchase, even if the amount is $0.
  • Can I give a customer a refund on a HIP purchase? No (unless you have not made any other transactions with the device since the purchase; in this case you can “void last transaction.”) What you can do is offer an equal exchange of other HIP-eligible fruits and vegetables.
  • Are plant starts and seeds eligible for SNAP and HIP? If they are plants and seeds for fruits and vegetables, then yes!
  • Can I get another EBT device? There are lots of EBT device options out there. These are just common ones farms use! You can always do your own research and find a different EBT processing solution that works for you.

Additional resources

Find resources to help promote SNAP/HIP here.

Find answers to customer FAQs here. 

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