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Getting and Using SNAP Benefits

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2017

These are the maximum SNAP benefits by household size:

Household Size

Max SNAP Benefit















106 C.M.R. §§ 364.600, 364.980. See also Appendix B, Chart 4.

If you have countable net income, multiply your net monthly income by 0.3 (30 percent). Round up this amount to the nearest dollar. Take this amount and subtract it from the maximum benefit level for a household of your size. The result is the amount of your monthly benefits.

Example: Carl and his family have $1,000 in net income after allowable income and shelter deductions. To determine the family’s SNAP benefits, take 30% of the “net income” (30% of $500) and subtract it from the maximum benefit, as follows:

 $ 1,000 Net Income for Carl’s family
  .30 (Multiply by 30%)
 $ 300 Countable Income
 $ 504 Maximum SNAP for 3 persons
 – 300 Countable income (round up)
 $ 204 Monthly SNAP benefits for the Carl’s family

How much will I get for my first month of SNAP benefits? ​

When you first apply, your initial benefit amount is based on the number of days from when you applied and the days left in your “SNAP month.” DTA “pro-rates” your first month of benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 364.650.

For example, if you apply halfway through your SNAP month, you will get 50 percent of the monthly benefit. See When will I get my SNAP benefits?.

If you do not get all the mandatory documents to DTA within 30 days from applying and DTA decides the delay was your fault, DTA will pro-rate your SNAP. Your benefits will start from the day they got everything they needed. You can challenge this, especially if you think DTA caused the delay. See What if DTA "prorates" my SNAP with a later start date?

Why did DTA approve me for $0 of SNAP?

Some SNAP households get DTA notices that say they are “approved” for $0 of SNAP benefits.  This happens to households of 3 or more persons with income below 200% poverty level, where 30% of the household’s net income is greater than the maximum benefit amount. 106 C.M.R. §§ 364.600(A), 365.180(G)(3). DTA will send you a notice that says your case is open but that your household is not eligible for any SNAP. Basically, DTA puts your case in “suspended” status.

If you report any changes during the certification period that make you eligible, you do not need to go through a whole reapplication with an interview and verifications. You only have to verify the change (eg. the drop in income, increased expense, a new baby or other household member).

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections: Notices/Forms > Cross Program > SNAP Calculation Page Example

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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