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What income is and is not counted for EA?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed October 2022

The EA income rules are generally based on the income rules for the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, but some things count as income for EA that do not count for TAFDC. See 760 CMR 67.02(5)(b), citing portions of 106 CMR 204.

Income that is counted for EA includes

  • Earned income (including wages, tips, salary, and self-employment income minus business expenses), See 106 CMR 204.210(A), and
  • Unearned income(including Social Security, unemployment compensation, veteran’s benefits and income from trusts). See 106 CMR 204.210(B).


    Income that is counted for EA (but not for TAFDC), includes Supplemental Security Income (SSI), TAFDC, Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC), and all child support actually received by the household. See 760 CMR 67.02(5)(b).

Income that is not counted for EA includes:

  • foster care payments you receive for a foster child,
  • food stamps (SNAP),
  • federal higher education (college level) grants, loans and work study,
  • other higher education grants and scholarships that cannot be used to meet current living expenses,
  • any loan that cannot be used to meet current living expenses,
  • training stipends up to $130 per month,
  • reimbursements for training expenses,
  • Youthbuild or Americorps earnings or payments to participants,
  • earnings of a child under 14,
  • certain restricted cash gifts from persons who are not financially responsible for anyone in the EA household,
  • assistance from social service or other organizations.

Historically, when DTA administered EA, it took the position that the following payments were non-countable (since EOHLC relies on the DTA's regulations, EOHLC should now take the same position):

  • For certain tenants: Up to $7,500 in relocation payments received to leave a foreclosed property plus additional amounts you can verify are being used for relocation expenses, see DTA Transitions, Jan. 2008, p. 7, and
  • For certain homeowners: Payments from a reverse mortgage (a loan that allows a homeowner to withdraw equity from property), see DTA Transitions, April 2007, pp. 4-5.

This is not a complete list of non-countable income. The regulations describe over 30 types of non-countable income, so check the regulations for a more complete list. See 106 CMR 204.250(A)(2) through (QQ), cited in 760 CMR 67.02(5)(b).

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