When do I need to report change and what is Simplified Reporting?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

The majority of SNAP households are on “Simplified Reporting”. This means you do not have to report to DTA any changes most of the time, except when DTA sends you an Interim Report or a Recertification. 

You can find out your SNAP reporting requirement from a recent SNAP approval notice. You can also call DTA or look on the My Account Page or DTA Connect. See How do I learn about my case online or with my smartphone? 

When do most SNAP households need to tell DTA about a change?

Most SNAP households only need to report a change when the household’s gross income goes over the monthly gross income limit for the household size. 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(C)(3). The gross income limit for your household should be listed on your approval notice. See Gross Income Chart in Appendix B.  

You may need to report if the household income goes above the limit because you or someone in your family started making more money, or someone moved into your household who has income. See What is a SNAP household or assistance unit? about household composition rules.  

Example: Selina is a single mom with one child and certified for SNAP for 1 year, She must report changes in January and July. Selina starts a second part time job in March earning $200/week. Her total monthly gross income from both jobs is $1,700 per month, below 200% FPL ($2,743) for her family size. Selina does not need to report the second job until her next Interim Report or Recertification. However, in In April Selina finishes training at her new job and works more shifts each week. Her gross income for April goes over $2,707. She needs to tell DTA by May 10th about this increase in income. 

When does an ABAWD need to report a change?

If you are an “abled bodied without dependent” (ABAWD), you need to report to DTA if your income exceeds the gross income test for your household size OR if you have been working 20 hours per week but then your hours drop below 20 hours per week. 

Example: Carla is an ABAWD and works 20 hours per week at a restaurant. She is certified for SNAP for 6 months. Before her recertification her boss takes away one of her shifts and her hours go down to 13 per week. She must tell DTA within 10 days of the decrease in her hours. 

When does an elder or disabled household need to report a change?

If your household has at least one person over 60 or who receives a disability-based benefit, you only need to report changes at the Interim Report and Recertification. This means you don’t need to tell DTA anything about changes in between.

Are there other changes I should report?

You are not required to report other changes. But your SNAP may go up if you tell DTA when:

  • Your income goes down
  • Your rent or housing goes up
  • Someone without income moves into your home, or you have a baby
  • Your dependent care costs or medical expenses go up
  • You start paying child support

If your income goes down or expenses go up, DTA is required to act on the information you report and increase your SNAP benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(C)(5)(a)(2). If the change results in $0 of net income in your SNAP calculation, DTA should issue you a supplement for the month of the reported change. 106 CMR 366.120(A)(1)

Example: Suzyn and her 3 kids are certified for 12 months and on “interim” reporting.”  She is not required to report any changes on her SNAP case for the first five months after her application. The first month of her certification period, she was working 30 hours a week at a local day care center. The second month, her employer reduced her time to 20 hours a week. If Suzyn reports the drop in earnings, DTA will recalculate her SNAP benefits using her lower wages. Suzyn will get more benefits because she reported the change in income. Her benefits will stay at the higher level and, unless her income goes over the Gross Income level for her household, she is not required to report anything else until her next Interim Report or Recertification. 

If you move, you should tell DTA your new address so you keep getting DTA mail. You do not need to tell DTA if your rent or housing costs go down- just tell them your new address. See If I move, how do I report my new address? 

On the other hand, if you report an increase in income or decrease in rent or other expenses, under current rules, DTA should not reduce your benefits during the interim reporting period unless your income exceeds the gross income level. Otherwise, your benefits will continue at the initial amount for the reporting period. 106 C.M.R. § 366.110(C)(5)(a)(1)

Summary of SNAP simplified reporting requirements

Type of Certification

Which households?

What do I have to report and when?

24 Month Certification Period

Elder (60+) or disabled households with no children and no earned income

Must complete an Interim Report at 12 months and Recertification at 24 months
Otherwise, not required to report anything.

12 Month Certification Period

Most households (families with kids, non-elder/disabled members, earnings, etc) 

Interim Report at 6 months and Recertification at 12 months. Paperwork mailed out about 45 days before end of 12 or 24 months

Must report if gross income exceeds 200% FPL gross income test, unless household includes senior or person with disability.

ABAWDs - 6 month Certification Period

Non-disabled adults ages 18-49 and not part of SNAP household with minor child

Recertification at 6 months. Some ABAWDs meeting the work requirement through community service need to send DTA a form every month. See What is the ABAWD 3-month time limit?

Must report if meeting the rules through work and work hours drop below 20 per week AND if gross income exceeds 200% FPL gross income test.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • For any households subject to an overpayment for failure to report a change in income or household status, be sure to check if the household was on or should have been on Simplified Reporting. There is no overpayment for failure to report changes during the semi-annual period, unless the income exceeded the gross income limit or the client was an ABAWD whose work hours dropped below 20/week. 
  • If a household is overpaid because they were delayed in reporting income that exceeded the gross income limit, effective May 8, 2017, the start of the overpayment should not be until 2 months after the month in which the income was received that made the household ineligible. 
  • At the time this Guide was written, DTA required Interim Reports for ABAWDs after 3 months. Federal regulations require at least 4 months before issuing an Interim Report. 7 CFR 273.12(a)(5)(iii)(B). If an ABAWD is closed for failure to complete an Interim Report, please contact MLRI.

DTA Policy Guidance:

Online Guide Sections: SNAP > Certificates Types > Simplified Reporting

Additional Guidance
  • Further expansion of “simplified” or “interim reporting” for households previously on “change reporting”, ABAWDs put in into 6-month interim reporting. OLG Transmittal #2016-05 (Jan. 4, 2016).
  • Expansion of simplified reporting to include elder/disabled households – these households in general moved into 24 month reporting with an Interim Report at 12 months. OLG Transmittal #2015-57 (Nov. 20, 2015).

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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