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Does DTA count money I don’t receive or withheld from my cash benefits?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

The SNAP rules sometimes count money you do not get as income in the following situations.

■    Money taken from your TAFDC or EAEDC benefit because of an intentional failure on your part to comply with the rules of that program is counted as if it were still paid in calculating your SNAP benefits. This includes when your cash benefits are reduced if DTA decides you failed to comply with the TAFDC work rule, teen parent school attendance rule, Learnfare rule, child support requirements, etc.

Example: Randy receives $418/month in TAFDC for her child. She was getting $518 but DTA reduced the benefits. DTA detmined Randy failed to cooperate with the child support rules without good cause. DTA will calculate the SNAP benefits as if Randy receives the TAFDC of $518 per month

■   Money taken out to repay DTA for an overpayment caused by fraud or willful withholding of information (such as failure to report a job when the earnings would have counted); or if you were found guilty of an intentional program violation by a court or by a DTA hearing officer or you waived your right to a hearing. 106 C.M.R. § 363.220(C)(4) and (5).

If the money is being taken out to repay a non-fraud overpayment, it is not countable income.

Federal SNAP regulations are also clear that DTA cannot count needs-based benefits you do not receive because of a sanction unless there is a finding that you intentionally failed to comply with program requirements resulting in the benefit reduction. 7 C.F.R. § 273.11(j)

■   Money legally owed to you but you do not receive because you elected to have it paid to a third party counts as income to you. For example, if you ask your boss to pay your rent directly, instead of giving you a full paycheck, the money would still count. But if your boss pays you a regular paycheck and also pays your rent, the rent payment does not count as income. 106 C.M.R. § 363.220(C)(3).

■    Part of your TAFDC or EAEDC grant that is sent to your landlord or utility company as a “vendor payments” is countable income for SNAP. 106 C.M.R. § 363.220 (C)(2), (C)(3).

Advocacy Reminders:

  • Money that is taken out of your EAEDC, TAFDC, SSI or other needs-based benefit to recover an overpayment can only be counted as income if you were found guilty of an IPV/fraud by a court of law or hearing officer. See What if DTA says I committed fraud or an "IPV"? The federal SNAP regulations also state that the SNAP state agency (e.g. DTA) is required to contact the agency that administers the benefits (e.g. SSA) to confirm a formal finding of fraud as the basis of the overpayment, not the SNAP recipient.
  • Money recovered from a non-means-tested benefit program, such as Unemployment Compensation or Social Security Disability, should not be counted as income for SNAP purposes. 106 C.M.R. § 360.220. USDA has also clarified that this policy does not apply to federal Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, because the VA benefits are not a “public or general assistance program.”
  • Money paid to a third party that is not legally owed to you does not count. For example, if a family member, friend or an organization, pays your landlord part of your rent, the payment is not countable. 106 C.M.R. § 363.230(B). But you can only claim a shelter deduction for the amount you pay the landlord.
  • Money that is paid to others on your behalf – but you do not have legal control over – does not count. 106 C.M.R. § 363.230(B)(4)(b). For example, if the court orders an absent parent to pay $600 per month you for child support and pay $500 per month to a bank for the mortgage on jointly held property, the $500/month does not count as income.

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections: Home > SNAP > Case Maintenance > SNAP Attributed Amount

Additional Guidance
  • DTA guidance and chart on when SNAP can count withheld or recouped income as countable.  Workers must use net Social Security and not count recouped RSDI, and confirms that VA pension overpayment recoupments are never countable. Transitions Hotline Q & A (Nov 2014)

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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