When do I have to report changes if I am on change reporting?

“Change reporting” means you are required to report any changes within ten (10) days of when you learn of the change. 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(A). Most households with elder or disabled members are certified for 24 months of SNAP benefits with change reporting requirements.

Change reporting means you must report changes in any earned income of more than $100 per month, or changes in any unearned income of more than $50 per month. You can also report change in household composition (who lives and shares food with you), shelter costs, medical expenses and any child support payments you make. Be sure to report these changes that might affect your eligibility for, or the amount of, your benefits (if you are not sure, it is safer to report).

You can report changes by mailing or faxing a change report form or a letter back to DTA, or you can go to DTA person. Be sure to keep a copy of what you send and make a note about any telephone calls or in-office meetings. If you fail to report a change that would result in a decrease in benefits, you may face over-issuance and a fraud sanction. See Part 7: Overissuances and Fraud.

In some cases, DTA receives information about a change in your household due to returned mail, information from the Department of Revenue regarding income or a new job, unreported unearned interest income through the Internal Revenue Service, a Registry of Motor Vehicle check, or through other sources. As a condition of receiving benefits, DTA checks your information with other government sources available to them. Your case may also be subject to random quality control reviews by USDA. 106 C.M.R. § 360.600. If DTA receives information that you did not already report, you should be contacted before DTA makes a change to your benefits.

Advocacy Reminders

  • Make sure that you promptly report to DTA any change in mailing address. If DTA receives returned mail from the US Post Office, they may ask you to verify your new address. If you have not moved and the Post Office made a mistake, be sure to call your SNPA worker. DTA cannot close your SNAP case for lack of verification when you have not moved. If you did move, send your case manager proof of your new address.  
Additional Policy Guidance on Reporting Changes
Additional Policy Guidance on Reporting Changes
  • DTA will send households with returned mail a verification form (to forwarding address if one is provided). If verification is not received in 10 days, case will be closed for failure to provide verification. Ops Memo 2013-13A (March 28, 2013).
  • DTA data match with US Postal Service National Change of Address database to update mailing addresses in BEACON, in order to reduce returned mail. Just as with returned mail, clients with updated match will receive a verification of address form. Ops Memo 2013-50 (Oct 24, 2013).
  • Instructions on IRA matches for unearned interest income done through the IRS data match and handling of discrepancies centrally. DTA must contact the household for discrepancies, request verifications and reopen a closed case if verification is received after date of closing. DTA Field Operations Memo 2008-21 (July 18, 2008 F.O. Memo 2007-37 (Aug. 1, 2008).

Hide Additional Policy Guidance

Will my SNAP benefits continue if I stop getting cash welfare or SSI?           

Your SNAP benefits should not stop just because your cash assistance stops.  If everyone in your household was receiving TAFDC, and the TAFDC stops, you may qualify for Transitional Benefits Alternative. See What are “TBA” benefits and reporting rules for former TAFDC recipients?.

If you were getting other cash assistance that stops – like EAEDC or SSI – DTA should recertify your SNAP based on the new circumstances, if DTA has enough information and you are financially still eligible for benefits.

If DTA does not have enough information to recertify you after your cash assistance stops, they should send you a notice closing your SNAP case the month after the month they send the notice, and will tell you that you need to recertify (reapply) for benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 365.170(B). The notice DTA sends you must also say that if you recertify (reapply) 15 days before your benefits stop, your benefits will continue without interruption. You may be able to recertify by mail. You may be subject to different work rules if you are no longer receiving cash assistance. See Who must register for work and do job search, and who’s exempt? through What if I have a “good cause” for not meeting the SNAP work registration or work search rules?.

Advocacy Reminder

  • If your SNAP benefits stop for some reason (maybe you did not recertify on time), you can reapply at any time.
Produced by Patricia Baker, Victoria Negus, Laura Gallant, Deborah Harris and Rochelle Hahn, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated January 2014
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