100. What happens when DTA receives information about me after my SNAP application is approved?

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Like all states, DTA uses different government and private company computer matches to find unreported income and check other information. When DTA receives information from you, or from data matches or information from other sources, they must follow specific rules about how and when they can follow up on the information.

Usually, DTA waits to ask you about the information at your Interim Report or Recertification. In limited situations they are allowed to ask you to verify the information and terminate your SNAP if you don’t reply. Sometimes they can act on the information they receive from third parties without asking you to verify it.

This question explains how and when DTA should respond to new information they get during your certification period (outside of your Interim Report or Recertification). These rules depend on where the information came from, what changes you are required to report (see reporting changes, and how recent the information is.)

Information that DTA will automatically act on

When DTA receives information directly from certain third parties, DTA can automatically act on the information right away without contacting you first. It can only do this when the information it receives is “verified upon receipt” – meaning the information is already verified by the source.
Usually this is because the information came directly from the source that provides the benefit or took the action.

For example, DTA can automatically act on information it receives from:

  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) about the amount of your Social Security benefits
  • The Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) about your Unemployment benefits
  • The Department of Children and Families when DCF removes a child from your home.


SSA increased Tom’s Social Security benefits in January with a 10% cost-of-living increase. DTA received the benefit information from SSA and reduces Tom’s SNAP benefits without talking to Tom in advance. DTA will send Tom a letter that his SNAP benefits have gone down based on the increase in Social Security.

DTA can also act on verification you send to them during your certification period if they can tell without asking you for more proofs what the verification means for your benefit amount and eligibility. For example, if you send DTA your most recent 4 pay stubs, DTA will change your benefit amount based on those pay stubs without asking you for more verification.

Information DTA cannot automatically act on

DTA also receives information from other agencies or sources that is not “verified upon receipt.” Because this information is not already verified by the source, DTA cannot use the information to make changes to your eligibility or your benefit amount. For example, DTA often gets information from “The Work Number,” (a service owned by a company called Equifax that helps large businesses with employee payroll information). DTA cannot automatically act on information from The Work Number because the Work Number is not the employer who hired and is paying wages to the household (unlike the example above of the SSA paying Social Security benefits).

When DTA receives “unclear information,” they can only require you to provide proof about the information outside of your Interim Report or Recertification in two situations:

  • the information DTA received is recent (less than 60 days old) and - if the information is accurate - you would have been required to report it. For example, if you have earnings and you are an EDSAP household. See reporting changes, or
  • the information conflicts with the information you gave DTA when you applied for SNAP or when you did your Recertification. For example, when you applied you told DTA you had no income, but DTA gets a data match that you had income from a job you had at the time you applied.


Jane was approved for SNAP in January and her case is on Simplified Reporting. DTA learns through The Work Number that Jane started working at McDonald’s part-time in September. DTA cannot reduce Jane’s SNAP even if they learn of the wages through The Work Number because The Work Number data is “unclear information” and Jane was not required to report the change in income until September, when her Recertification is due. She was not required to report it because her gross monthly income stayed below the gross income test (see reporting changes). DTA can ask Jane for more information about her McDonald’s job at her Recertification.

If you think DTA stopped or denied your SNAP because of information they received from another source or because of a data match, contact MLRI at [email protected].

DTA Online Guide

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


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