44. What if I am providing adult foster care to an older adult or person with disabilities?

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Notas finales

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Adult Foster Care (AFC) is a special MassHealth program for frail elders and adults with disabilities who cannot live alone1. MassHealth pays qualified AFC caregivers to provide in-home care to elder and disabled MassHealth recipients who would otherwise be in a long-term care facility. Sometimes, AFC caregivers may also be low income and qualify for SNAP benefits.

If you are responsible to care for a disabled adult under the Adult Foster Care program, you have the choice to include or exclude the adult fostered person from your SNAP household – even if he or she shares all meals with your family2.

If you do not include the fostered adult in your SNAP household, none of the AFC payments you receive as a caregiver will count toward your SNAP benefits. In addition, none of the income of the disabled adult will count (such as SSI or Social Security). In most cases, caregivers qualify for higher SNAP benefits by excluding the fostered adult.


Frank and Emma Wilson provide adult foster care for Emma’s 88-year-old mother, Margaret, who lives with them. Emma takes care of her daily needs, including all her meals. Frank works part time earning $1,800/month. The AFC Program pays Emma $1,500 a month. Margaret also receives $800 in Social Security. Under the SNAP rules, Frank and Emma can apply for SNAP benefits as a 2-person household, excluding Margaret. By excluding her, her Social Security income and the AFC stipend are also excluded. DTA should only count Frank’s $1,800 in earned income for a 2-person SNAP household. This is true even though the 3 of them purchase and prepare food together.

Disabled adults under age 22

If the fostered adult is a disabled adult child under age 22 living with their parent, unfortunately the parents cannot exclude the fostered individual until they turn age 22. The SNAP household composition rules require the under 22 year old to be in their parent’s case. See who cannot be a separate SNAP household.

For MLRI’s “Know Your Rights” fliers go to: Masslegalservices.org/content/adult-foster-care-and-snap

DTA Online Guide

See Appendix G for links to the DTA’s BEACON 5 Online Guide for this section.


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