What if I am providing adult foster care?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a pdf of the 2023 guide from www.masslegalservices.org/FoodStampSNAPAdvocacyGuide

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

Adult Foster Care (AFC) is a special MassHealth program for frail elders and adults with disabilities who cannot live alone. 130 C.M.R §408.410-438. MassHealth pays qualified AFC caregivers to provide in-home care to elder and disabled MassHealth recipients who would otherwise be in a long-term care facility. Sometimes, AFC caregivers may still be low income and qualify for SNAP benefits.

If you are responsible to care for a disabled adult under the Adult Foster Care program, you have the choice to include or exclude the adult fostered person from your SNAP household – even if he or she shares all meals with your family. 106 C.M.R.§361.240(F).

If the fostered adult is not included as a SNAP household member, none of the AFC payments paid to the caregiver or the income of the disabled adult counts for your SNAP benefits. In addition, none of the income of the disabled adult is counted (such as SSI or Social Security). In most cases, care-givers qualify for higher SNAP benefits. However, if excluded, an AFC adult cannot get SNAP benefits as a separate SNAP household.


Frank and Emma Wilson are married and provide adult foster care for Emma’s mother, 88 year old Margaret (who lives with them). Emma takes care of Margaret daily, including all her meals. Frank works part time earning $1,800/month. He helps Emma on weekends. The AFC Program pays the Wilsons $1,500 a month. Margaret also receives $800 in Social Security. Under the SNAP rules, Frank and Emma can apply for SNAP benefits as a 2 person household, excluding Margaret, her Social Security, and the AFC stipend from their SNAP household. Only the $1,800 income earned by Frank is countable income. This is true even though the 3 of them purchase and prepare the household food together.

Some caregivers receive an additional payment for room and board when the fostered adult is living in the home of the caregiver. If the fostered adult is excluded from the SNAP household, DTA may still consider payments made to the caregiver for room and board to be countable income for SNAP.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • A SNAP household can request that DTA remove an Adult Foster Care adult from the SNAP household at any time. If you discover a family getting lower SNAP because a fostered adult is in the household, call DTA and ask to remove the fostered adult.
  • If the fostered adult is a disabled adult child age 18-22 and is living with his or her parent who provides AFC care, the family cannot exclude the fostered adult because of the SNAP household composition rules. See Who cannot be a separate SNAP household?

For MLRI’s Know Your Rights flier go to: Masslegalservices.org/content/adult-foster-care-and-snap
DTA Online Guide Sections: SNAP > Eligibility Requirements > Elderly/Disabled > Adult Foster Care

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