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What is the homeless deduction?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

If stay in a homeless shelter, stay temporarily in the home of another (“couch surfing”), or live on the street, your SNAP benefits should be calculated with the standard homeless deduction of $143 per month.

This standard deduction recognizes the basic living of doing laundry, phone calls, locker fees, and other items. 106 C.M.R. § 364.400(F). You do not need to verify these expenses. If you get the homeless deduction, you do not get any shelter deduction (including the phone SUA).

It is important that your DTA worker code your SNAP case as “homeless” so you get this deduction. DTA considers you “homeless” if you lack a regular nighttime residence, including if you are staying in a shelter or have other accommodations that are temporary (e.g. less than 90 days). See 106 C.M.R. § 360.030 for the definition of homeless.

Example: Paul is a homeless veteran who receives $400 per month in Veterans’ benefits. Sometimes he stays at Pine Street Inn, a shelter for adult individuals, and sometimes he sleeps on the street. Paul gets the $160 standard deduction and the $143 homeless deduction. His net monthly income for SNAP is $102 per month.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • If you are homeless and temporarily staying in a house or apartment where you pay for rent or utilities, you can get either the $143 homeless shelter deduction or the excess shelter deduction (based on your rent plus the applicable Standard Utility Allowance (SUA)), whichever is higher. See What if I am homeless or live in a shelter?

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections:  SNAP > Expenses and Deductions > Household Expenses > Homeless Households

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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