When do I need to report change and what is Simplified Reporting?

The majority of SNAP households are now on “Simplified Reporting” (sometimes called “Simplified Reporting). This means you do not have to report to DTA any changes in income or living situation except at specific intervals – when you are sent an Interim Report or a Recertification.

There are three different reporting schedules based on the length of your certification period:

  • Elder and disabled households certified for 24 months must complete an Interim Report before the 12th month.
  • Households certified for 12 months (typically families with children) must complete an Interim Report before the 6th month.
  • ABAWDS (able bodied adults without dependents) are certified for 6 months, and need to complete an Interim Report before the 3rd month.

IMPORTANT: At the time this Guide goes to print, nearly all SNAP households are on Simplified Reporting. Households receiving cash assistance and some elder/disabled households may still be on “change reporting.”

If you have questions about your SNAP reporting requirements, contact DTA, look at a recent SNAP approval notice or look on the My Account Page or DTA Connect. See What is a My Account Page? to get information on your case.

Change reporting requirements for cash assistance households

Reporting requirements are different for households that also get cash assistance from DTA (TAFDC or EAEDC). 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(A). If your household receives cash assistance (as of the time this Guide goes to print), you are not on simplified reporting.

You are required to report the following changes within 10 days of the change:

  • Your earnings go up or down by more than $100 per month
  • Your unearned income goes up or down by more than $50 per month.  
  • You start or stop a job
  • You move and your rent, mortgage or utilities changed when you moved
  • Who lives with you changed (for example, someone moved in or out)
  • The legal obligation to pay child support (such as termination of the obligation)

When you get the Interim Report (IR)

DTA will send you the Interim Report (IR) 45 days before the middle of your certification period. So, if you are certified for 12 months – January through December, you should get this report by May 15th, which is 45 days before July 1st.  When you get the IR form, fill it out and send it back to DTA as quickly as possible so there aren’t any delays in your SNAP.

The Interim Report (IR) includes the information DTA knows about your household. It has check boxes where you can check if there has been a change or if there has been no change to the information listed.

If there has been a change, try to also send in verification of the change to make the process faster. You do not need an interview when you file the Interim report. A couple of things can happen next: You do not need an interview when you file the Interim report.

A couple of things can happen next:

  1. If you do not send this IR form back, your SNAP benefits will stop.
  2. If you send back the IR form on time, DTA should process it and tell you if you need to send them any proofs. If everything is all set, your SNAP should continue without interruption.
  3. If you sent in the IR form, DTA asked you for required proofs, but you were late – DTA  should reopen your SNAP back to the date DTA received your proofs. DTA should do this as long as they got the missing proofs within 30 days of your case closing.
  4. If you send in the IR form late, DTA will treat it as a new application and should reopen your SNAP case – but the benefits will be prorated as of the date they received the report.

If you did everything DTA asked you to do and your SNAP still closed, contact the DTA Ombudsman or Legal Services. See How can the DTA Ombuds Office help? and Appendix E.

DTA will also send you a Recertification Form before the end of your certification period. This is a longer form that asks more information about your household changes. See Proving Continuing Eligibility.

IMPORTANT:  Even though you are not required to report most changes until your Interim reporting period, you must report to DTA if:

  • Your gross income exceeds the gross income limit for your household. The gross income limit should be listed on your approval notice. See Gross Income Chart in Appendix B.  
  • Someone moves into your household and has income that, in combination with other income, exceeds the gross income limit for your household. 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(C)(3).

Example:  Selina is a single mom with one child. She is certified for SNAP for 1 year and must report changes in January and July. She starts a second part time job in March earning $200/week. Her total monthly gross income from both jobs is $1,700 per month, below 200% FPL ($2,706) for her family size. Selina does not need to report the second job until her next Interim Report or Recertification.

If your gross income increases above the gross income assigned to your household, you must report this change right away—within ten (10) days after the change occurs. When you are approved for SNAP, DTA will send you a notice explaining how long you are certified, when you will get an Interim Report and what the gross income level is in case you need to report sooner.

Summary of SNAP simplified reporting requirements

Type of Certification

Which households?

What do I have to report and when?

24 Month Certification Period

Elder (60+) or disabled households with no children and no earned income

Must complete an Interim Report at 12 months and  Recertification at 24 months. Paperwork mailed out about 45 days before end of 12 or 24 months.

12 Month Certification Period

Most families with children, non- elder/disabled households, persons with earnings or history of earned income.

Interim Report at 6 months and Recertification at 12 months.  Paperwork mailed out about 45 days before end of 12 or 24 months

Must report if gross income exceeds 200%  FPL gross income test.

ABAWDs - 6 month Certification Period

Non-disabled adults ages 18-49 and not part of SNAP household with minor child

An interim report at 3 months and Recertification at 6 months. Some ABAWDs meeting the work requirement through community service need to send DTA papers every month. See What is the ABAWD 3-month time limit?

Bay State Cap – 36 Month Certification

SSI recipients approved for Bay State CAP.

Recertified every 36 months. Report any changes directly to SSA that affect SSI benefits and SSA will notify DTA. See What is Bay State CAP for SSI recipients?

Reporting changes even if not required

Even though you are not required to report changes (as long as your income stays below the gross income limit), it may help to do so. If your income goes down or expenses go up, DTA is required to act on the information you report and increase your SNAP benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(C)(5)(a)(2).

On the other hand, if you report an increase in income or decrease in rent or other expenses, under current rules, DTA should not reduce your benefits during the interim reporting period unless your income exceeds the gross income level. Otherwise, your benefits will continue at the initial amount for the reporting period. 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(C)(5)(a)(1).

Example: Suzyn and her 3 kids are certified for 12 months and on “interim” reporting.”  She is not required to report any changes on her SNAP case for the first five months after her application. The first month of her certification period, she was working 30 hours a week at a local day care center. The second month, her employer reduced her time to 20 hours a week. If Suzyn reports the drop in earnings, DTA will recalculate her SNAP benefits using her lower wages. Suzyn will get more benefits because she reported the change in income. Her benefits will stay at the higher level and, unless her income goes over the Gross Income level for her household, she is not required to report anything else until her next Interim Report or Recertification.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • It’s always a good idea for a household to report changes in income or expenses that can increase in SNAP. Under the Simplified Reporting rules, DTA can lower or terminate your SNAP benefits ONLY when your income exceeds the gross income limit, or if they have received information from a data source that is “verified upon receipt”. If DTA closes your case or reduces your SNAP for other during the interim reporting periods for other reasons, contact an advocate.
  • For any households subject to an overpayment for failure to report a change in income or household status, be sure to check if the household was on or should have been on simplified/interim reporting. There is no overpayment for failure to report changes during the semi-annual period, unless the income exceeded the gross income limit. 

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections: SNAP > Reporting Requirements/Recertifications > Simplified Reporting/Interim Report

Additional Guidance
  • Further expansion of “simplified” or “interim reporting” for households previously on “change reporting”,   ABAWDs put in into 6-month interim reporting. OLG Transmittal #2016-05 (Jan. 4, 2016).
  • Expansion of simplified reporting to include elder/disabled households – these households in general moved into 24 month reporting with an Interim Report at 12 months. OLG Transmittal #2015-57 (Nov. 20, 2015).
  • When DTA receives returned mail for semi-annual reporting households, address is updated and household will need to verify at interim report or recertification. Case should not be closed. Ops Memo 2013-13A (March 28, 2013)
  • DTA will recalculate and possibly decrease of SNAP benefits when DTA obtains information considered “verified upon receipt.” Ops Memo 2013-41 (July 26, 2013)
  • DTA automated matching with Mass Lottery Commission, county prisons, Mass Dept. of Corrections and DPH/SSA/US Dept. of Commerce for death matches. Ops Memo 2013-27 (June 14, 2013)
  • DTA will reopen SNAP benefits if missing verifications received within 30 day period after case closed as long as interim report received timely. If interim report was late, interim report becomes new SNAP application and benefits prorated. Transitions Hotline Q &A (March 2012)
  • If household reports loss of income or increased expenses during semi-annual period, DTA must act to increase SNAP even before report due. Transitions Hotline Q & A (Aug. 2011)
  • New verifications are not required if no changes reported in household expenses at Simplified Reporting time. If a change in expenses (shelter, medical) is reported without documentation, the expense will be zeroed out in the calculations. F.O. Memo 2010-55 (Nov. 23, 2010), Transitions Hotline Q&A (Nov. 2005)

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Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Last Updated January 2017

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