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SNAP/Food Stamps for Elder/Disabled Households with Medical Expenses


For All Seniors (age 60 or over) and Persons with Disabilities

If you have out-of-pocket medical expenses, your SNAP benefits may increase!  If you have medical expenses over $35 per month, DTA allows a $155 deduction from income. This deduction can increase your benefits. If you pay more than $190/month in expenses, you might get even more SNAP.

What kinds of medical related expenses can I claim?

Basic Care costs…

If you pay directly for any medical, dental care, mental health, physical therapy, hospital based care, prescription medication, home health and nursing care... or if you pay any insurance premiums, co-payments or deductibles.

Alternative Care…

If you pay for acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy or herbal treatments prescribed by a licensed practitioner.

Health Care Supplies and Equipment…

If you buy special creams, ointments, pain magnets, incontinence supplies, commodes or other supplies and/or equipment recommended by your licensed health practitioner.

Over-the-counter drugs…

If you buy pain relievers, insulin, antacids, vitamins, allergy pills, or other remedies recommended by your health practitioner.

Mileage at 57.5 cents/mile or the cost of public transport…

If you drive your car to appointments or to pick up drugs or medical supplies at the pharmacy, you can claim 57.5 cents per mile driven -- or what you pay for a taxi, bus, subway or train.

Housekeeper and caregiver expenses…

If you need a housekeeper or care attendant to care for you because of your age or disability.

Vision or hearing care communication devices, other one-time expenses…

If you buy eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aides, speech or communication equipment, or have monthly usage fees, or if you pay emergency medical care not covered by insurance.

Is there a limit or cap on the expenses I can claim?

  • If you have proof of medical expenses over $35/month, DTA will automatically allow a standard $155 deduction. You need to show proofs of at least $35.01 /month to get this $155 deduction. 
  • If you have more than $190/month in unreimbursed medical expenses, DTA will deduct the actual amount of these expenses in calculating your income, after the first $35. There is no cap on what you can claim if you have proof of your unreimbursed health-care expenses.


Jane Smith is 78. She gets $1,000 in Social Security plus MassHealth. She pays $300/month rent plus utilities including AC. Without claiming medical expenses, Mrs. Smith gets $94/month SNAP. Mrs. Smith drives to the doctor and pharmacy each week. She also buys tylenol and eye drops recommended by her doctor, and pays copays for the doctor visits. Because she spends more than $35/month in health goods, co-pays, and transport to the MD or pharmacy, she will get the standard medical deduction of $155/month. Her SNAP will increase to $164 per month.

How do I claim medical expenses?

You can claim medical expenses on your application, or contact your DTA worker at any time. Keep copies of bills you pay and appointment letters. Appointment letters show the dates you travel. Sometimes your pharmacy can print out your receipts. Give these proofs to your DTA worker. You can use the Medical Expenses Checklist to keep track of what you spend.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last updated June 2015


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