18. What if DTA questions my income or my living expenses?

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Notas finales

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Many low-income households have living costs that exceed their income. Households often borrow from family members or friends, run up credit cards, or have unpaid bills that lead to a utility shut off or eviction. None of this is fraudulent activity; it is how most households survive tough times.

If DTA thinks your income is too low to meet your rent or other costs when you apply for SNAP, a DTA worker may call and ask you questions about how you are getting by. It is very important that you answer DTA’s questions truthfully.

These are common situations that DTA should not consider questionable:

  • If you borrow money from friends or relatives or borrow against your credit card to pay your expenses, that is not questionable. Loans are not countable income. See income not counted.
  • Cash contributions for living expenses from people who are not legally obligated to support you are not questionable. In most cases, these payments should also not count as income in your case. Examples of non-legally responsible people include aa grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor, or friend who is just helping you out. See gifts or contributions.

However, if you get cash contributions (money) from people who are legally responsible for your living expenses, such as child support for your children or alimony from a spouse, that is countable income.

DTA should not ask for proofs unless the information you provide is deemed “questionable.” See what if DTA does not accept the proofs you sent them. However, if your shelter costs or other expenses continue to exceed your income at the point of your SNAP recertification, DTA will likely ask you for more proof. That can include documents that show you are behind in your rent or utilities, or a statement from people you are borrowing money from.

DTA Online Guide

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

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