What is the child care/dependent care deduction?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

Families can claim the cost of care for either minor children or a disabled adult member while the household member is working, attending education or training programs, or looking for work. 106 C.M.R. § 364.400(D). Dependent care includes the cost for supervision of teenage children (under age 18), as well as care of a child or disabled adult not part of your SNAP household (for example, a foster child or non-citizen child).

What types of dependent care costs count?

  • private day care arrangements with caregivers not part of your SNAP household (e.g. older children);
  • co-payments or fees for subsidized child care;
  • payments for “attendant care,” PCAs and/or co-payments for adult day care provided for elder or disabled adults;
  • fees for after-school, before-school and vacation care including adult supervised before and after-school activities for teenagers, YMCA and YWCA camps, Boys and Girls Clubs, summer camp fees; and
  • transportation to and from the program sites at the federal mileage rate (54.5 cents per mile as of January 2018) or the cost of public transportation. Use MapQuest to help determine your mileage.

How do I prove dependent care costs? ​

You can self-declare your dependent care costs by writing the expenses on your signed SNAP application or recertification form or send DTA a separate signed statement. See sample self-declaration form in Appendix C. You do not need to get a statement from the child care provider.

DTA can ask for more verification if the information you provide is determined “questionable.” This is when DTA thinks you gave information that is inconsistent with other statements on your application or information known to DTA. 106 C.M.R. § 361.620.

Example: Julie is a single parent who tells DTA she is supposed to pay $400/week for child care, but she earns only $900/week gross income. Her children are at the same day care center and she previously reported paying only $75/week in subsidized care. DTA may request more information from Julie, or actual verification, to confirm the amount of child care since the information she provided is contradictory to what was on file before. In this case, after discussing further with Julie, DTA determines that  $400 is the amount paid to the child care for both children and that $75/week is Julie’s co-pay (the amount she is responsible to pay and that amount that will be included in her dependent care deduction for SNAP). 

Dependent care for disabled/elder adults

If you need to pay for care for a disabled adult – such as an elderly parent or disabled adult child – so that you can go to work or training, you can claim this as a dependent care cost. 106 C.M.R. § 364.400(D).

If a disabled member of your household pays for adult care for his or her own reasons (unrelated to you going to work), DTA will treat these costs as medical expenses of the disabled individual, not dependent care expenses. 106 C.M.R. § 364.400(C)(12). See What medical expenses can I claim if I am elderly or disabled? Either way, adult dependent care of a person with disabilities is a deductible expense.

Advocacy Reminder:

  • You do not need to wait until your next recertification to claim additional dependent care expenses. If you incur any child care expenses you did not previously report to DTA notify DTA immediately.

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections:  SNAP > Expenses and Deductions > Dependent Care Expenses >

Additional Guidance
  • Instructions to workers on how to calculate travel related costs for child care deduction using round trip mileage to and from child care site at federal mileage rate. Transitions, Feb. 2015 Training Corner.
  • Dependent care costs for an ineligible non-citizen child can still be claimed by working adult. Transitions Hotline Q&A (Feb. 2009)
  • Rep payee administrative fees for SSI /RSDI recipients living in group homes should be treated as dependent care expenses. Transitions FYI (Sept. 2006).

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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