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Can my children get benefits if I am an ineligible immigrant?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

You have the right to apply for eligible household members such as U.S. citizen children and spouses. If you or other household members do not have legal status or do not wish to receive SNAP, you can exclude yourself from the SNAP application. 

When you apply for SNAP or cash, be sure to tell DTA if any member of your household wants to "opt out" of the application. You are not required to give proof of immigration status or supply an SSN for individuals in your household who are not seeking SNAP for based on their immigration status. 106 C.M.R. § 362.220 

However, if you are the immigrant parent of a child (or spouse, living in the household) and yyou are applying for your dependents, you still must give DTA with information about your income and expenses. DTA will count your income in calculation the SNAP benefits for dependents.

DTA should only ask for proof of the U.S. citizenship of your children or other eligible household members if their status is “questionable.” 106 C.M.R. § 362.210 Being a U.S. born child to immigrant parents is not questionable.

Further, receipt of SNAP for eligible dependents does not create “public charge” problems for the immigrant parent. See Will getting SNAP benefits hurt my immigration status?

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

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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