14. What proofs are optional?

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

DTA needs certain information beyond your income to calculate the amount of your SNAP. These are considered optional verifications or proofs.

This means that, DTA cannot deny your application for benefits – but the SNAP amount will be calculated without these deductions if DTA does not get the information or the proofs they need1.

Optional information includes your:

  • shelter (rent, home ownership) and utility costs,
  • childcare or adult dependent care costs,
  • health care costs (if eligible to claim them),
  • child support you pay to a child outside the household.
  • business expenses for self-employment income.

Shelter and childcare costs can be self-declared. Health care costs can be self- declared if between $35 and $190/month, but DTA needs proof if claiming health care costs above $190/month. DTA also needs proof of child support paid out and business expenses from self-employment to exclude those costs from your income.


Child support

If you verified with DTA that you are legally required to pay and that you are paying child support, double check DTA’s SNAP math. The child support you pay out should be excluded from your income, but sometime DTA workers make mistakes. If you did not verify your legal requirement to pay or the amount you pay, DTA will not exclude the child support you pay from your income and can deny your SNAP case if that means your income is too high to qualify, or give you lower SNAP than you should receive. See counting self-employment income.


Double check how much of your income DTA used when calculating your benefit. Sometimes DTA workers erroneously count income that they should exclude because of your business expenses. Ask DTA for help identifying and verifying your business expenses. See child support exclusion.

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