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What income is not counted?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

DTA looks at total monthly income to decide if you are eligible for SNAP benefits and how much you will get—but not all income counts. 106 C.M.R. §§ 363.220(C)363.230

Here are examples of income that does not count for SNAP:

  • Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credits.  
  • Federal and state tax refunds and other non-recurring lump sums of money such as insurance settlements or back benefits from other programs. 106 C.M.R. §§ 363.130(E)363.230(I)363.140(G)(6)..
  • Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
  • VISTA, Youthbuild, AmeriCorps, and Foster Grandparent allowances, earnings, or payments for persons otherwise eligible.
  • Lump sum payments – such as inheritances, tax credits, damage awards, one time severance pay, or other one-time payments.
  • Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot program payments funded (fully or in-part) by a private or nonprofit organization. Currently this includes: Family Health Project, Chelsea Eats, Cambridge Rise, United South End Settlements, and Rise Up Cambridge and the Pediatric RISE Program.
  • Reimbursements – money you get to pay you back for expenses, including training-related expenses and medical expenses. Payment received for certain DTA Employment and Training programs is non-countable as a reimbursement payment.
  • Anything you do not get as cash – such as free housing or food, or money that is paid directly to a landlord or utility company made by a relative, friend or agency that has no legal obligation to do so.
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) stipends paid to older workers doing part time community service work.
  • Cash contributions given to you that provide for part of your housing, food or other needs that are paid by a person or agency that has no legal obligation to do so. See  Does DTA count gifts or contributions?
  • Veterans Services (M.G.L. c 115( payments made by vendor payment directly to your landlord or utility company.
  • Money earned by a child under age 18 who is attending high school or elementary school, provided the child lives with a parent or other responsible adult.
  • Up to $30 per household member in a three-month period that is not regular (such as money from odd jobs).
  • Up to $300 in a three-month period from private charities.
  • All financial aid- federal, state and local and private - to college students. This includes grants, loans, scholarships, work-study, assistantships and fellowships. See What if I am a college student?
  • Loans from private individuals and financial institutions, including loans on the equity of a home (reverse mortgages). See Does DTA count gifts or contributions?
  • The first $130 per month in training stipends.
  • One-time payments, such as tax refunds, state and federal earned income tax credits (EITC), insurance settlements, and back benefits from other programs.
  • Combat pay earned by the service member while they are actively serving in a federally-designated combat zone.

Verification of non-countable income

The SNAP regulations state that you do not need to verify non-countable income unless the information you provide is inconsistent or questionable. See 106 C.M.R. §§ 361.610(A),(K)363.210(D) See What if DTA does not accept the proofs I sent them? regarding when something is considered “questionable.” 

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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