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When do assets count?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

There is no asset test for most SNAP households. The majority of states including Massachusetts use a federal option, known as “categorical eligibility,” which allows states to eliminate the SNAP asset test for most households.

There are four situations when DTA will ask about your assets:

  • Expedited benefits: If you need SNAP benefits quickly, you may qualify if you have less than $150 in countable income and less than $100 in liquid assets (cash on hand, money in the bank), or if your shelter costs exceed your income and liquid assets. 106 C.M.R. § 363.100. Having assets does not affect your ongoing SNAP, just your right to get expedited SNAP. See When am I eligible for expedited (emergency) benefits?  about expedited SNAP.
  • Households with at least one member 60 or older or disabled with gross income above 200% FPL: If you are age 60 or older, or disabled and your gross income exceeds this level, DTA will ask about assets. Your assets must be below $4,250. Assets include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate other than your home, etc. Assets do not include tax-deferred retirement or education accounts, your home or land it sits upon, a car or other excluded items. See 106 C.M.R. § 363.130 for a full list of which assets are counted and 106 C.M.R. § 363.140 lists countable assets, 106 C.M.R §363.140 lists non-countable assets.
  • Income from assets: Any income you receive from an asset does count as income, including interest earned on savings and dividends you receive. 106 C.M.R. § 363.220(B)(5)(This also includes withdrawals from your assets on a regular basis (vs. one time). If interest is paid quarterly or annually, DTA will average it out over the 3, or 12, months. 106 C.M.R. § 364.340 DTA may ask for bank statements, tax filings or other proof of the amount of interest or dividends you receive.
  • If you or a household member is disqualified due to an intentional program violation (fraud) per 106 C.M.R. § 367.800 These households must have less than $2,750 in assets.

Contact MLRI at [email protected] if DTA says you are ineligible due to your assets and you think it is a mistake.

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

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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