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Overpayments and Fraud

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a PDF of the 2023 guide from

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

What If I was overpaid SNAP benefits ?

If you get more SNAP benefits than you are eligible for, DTA can recover the overpayment. 106 C.M.R. § 367.490. An overpayment can happen in four ways:

  • DTA made a mistake and gave you too much in SNAP. This is called an Agency Error.
  • You made an unintentional mistake that caused your SNAP to be higher than you should have received. This is called an Unintentional Program Violation (UPV).
  • You received SNAP benefits while you were waiting for a hearing and you then lost the hearing.
  • You are found by a court or a DTA administrative hearings officer to have committed fraud or an “Intentional Program Violation” (IPV).

See 106 C.M.R. § 367.495. 106 C.M.R. § 367.275.

DTA will not pursue an Agency Error overpayment if the amount is for less than $600. For example, if DTA paid you an extra $500 in SNAP by mistake, DTA will not ask you to pay it back.

DTA will not pursue a UPV or IPV overpayment if the amount is less than $125 - unless DTA discovered the overpayment during a Quality Control case review. 106 C.M.R. § 364.870.

If you are getting SNAP, DTA will take some of your SNAP each month to pay back the overpayment. See How does DTA collect an overpayment if I am getting SNAP?

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