When do I have to repay an overpayment?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.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 2022 guide from www.masslegalservices.org/FoodStampSNAPAdvocacyGuide

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

Under the federal and state SNAP rules, you are required to repay overpayments even if the overpayment was DTA’s mistake – unless the overpayment meets certain exceptions. See 106 C.M.R. § 367.495(E)

This chart summarizes when DTA will and will not pursue an overpayment.

Will DTA pursue an overpayment?
  Overpayment Occurred 12+ Months Before DTA Discovery Overpayment Less Than $600 Overpayment Less Than $125
Agency Error No No Not applicable
Client Error-UPV No Yes No
Client Fraud-IPV Yes (up to 6 years) Yes No

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

If you are not currently getting SNAP, See How does DTA collect overpayments if I am not getting SNAP?
DTA will collect from you and also any others who were adults and in your SNAP household at the time of the overpayment. 106 C.M.R. §367.490.
However, DTA has the authority to reduce the amount of a claim. This is called “compromising the claim.” 106 C.M.R. §367.495(F).

If I am currently getting SNAP, will DTA waive (stop collection) of an overpayment it caused?

Yes! DTA has special rules for SNAP recipients with “Agency Error” overpayments:

  • If all SNAP household members in your household are age 67 or older, DTA will waive the entire (100%) Agency Error overpayment amount. DTA started this policy in May 2018.
  • If any SNAP household members in your household are below age 67, DTA will waive half (50%) of the Agency Error amount. For example, if a household has a $900 Agency Error overpayment, DTA will reduce the amount owed to $450. DTA started this policy in November 2018.

If I am not getting SNAP, but the overpayment was DTA’s fault, do I have to repay it?

Yes. Agency Error overpayments are subject to the same rules as other kinds of overpayments. See How does DTA collect overpayments if I am not getting SNAP?
You have the option to ask DTA to compromise your claim if you cannot pay it without hardship. Contact an advocate if you need help trying to convince DTA to reduce or eliminate a SNAP overpayment.


DTA Online Guide Section: Home > Cross Programs > Overpayment and Recovery > Unintentional Program Violations

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