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Should DTA help me if I am having a hard time getting proofs?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2020

DTA workers are required to help you get proofs if you tell DTA you are having difficulty. 106 C.M.R.§361.650. This includes offering to do a “collateral contact” – a call to a third party – to confirm information. 106 C.M.R.§361.640(B).
For example, a DTA worker can:

  • Contact an employer for missing wage information
  • Contact another state to confirm the date your out-of-state SNAP case closed.

If you need DTA to contact a third party for information, DTA will need the third party’s contact information and your written permission for DTA to contact them.
DTA does not regularly and proactively offer to do a collateral contact. You need to ask DTA to make one. But if you go in person to a local DTA office, the DTA worker should affirmatively offer to make a collateral contact call if they need information about one of the following:

In general, DTA cannot require you to agree to a third party contact if you can verify the information they need some other way. Your privacy is important and must be respected.106 C.M.R. §360.400.
Trouble getting proofs
DTA can deny your SNAP if you refuse to cooperate with getting the proofs, refuse to be interviewed, or if DTA decides you do not meet the other eligibility rules. 106 C.M.R. §§361.400 and 361.650.
If you and DTA cannot get the proofs they need, DTA must accept the best available evidence for verification of income, which may end up being your self-declaration. See 106 C.M.R. §363.210(G)(3).
For example:

  • Your former employer refuses to give you information about your last day of work and will not talk with DTA. DTA should accept your self-declaration.
  • You are self-employed but you do not have detailed business records and make so little you do not file taxes. You have no other records of your income. DTA should accept your self-declaration.

If you have a disability that makes it hard for you to get proofs or comply with other DTA rules, see What happens after I apply?.
DTA Online Guide: Cross Programs > Verifications > Verifications Overview > Providing Assistance to Clients in Obtaining SNAP Verifications
and  > Verifications > Verification Methods > Collateral Contact

 

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