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What is the child care/dependent care deduction?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

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).

Dependent care costs include:
■ 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 (57.5 cents as of January 2020) or the cost of public transportation. You can call DTA to verbally report your car transportation costs.

You can self-declare your dependent care costs. See What information can I self-declare?

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 or look for work, 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 Interim Report or Recertification to claim new or increased dependent care expenses. If you incur any dependent care costs you did not previously report to DTA, notify DTA immediately.

DTA Online Guide Sections:SNAP > Expenses and Deductions > Dependent Care Expenses > Dependent Care Expense Deduction

Additional Guidance:
● 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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