If you are getting SNAP, DTA can pay itself back by:
- not paying you for an underpayment you are owed. See What if DTA makes a mistake and owes me money? This is called “offsetting.”
- for unintentional overpayments, recouping 10% or $10 of your monthly SNAP, whichever is greater. 106 C.M.R. § 367.495(G)
- for Intentional Program violation Overpayments, recouping 20% or $20 of your monthly SNAP, whichever is greater. 106 C.M.R. § 367.500(B)(2)
Before reducing your benefits, DTA has to send you a notice telling you they are reducing your SNAP because they are paying back a SNAP overpayment. DTA may also send you a notice called a Repayment Agreement. You do not have to pay more than what DTA will take out of your SNAP and you do not have to sign the Repayment Agreement.
You have the right to advance notice and an opportunity for a hearing before your benefits are reduced. 106 C.M.R. §§ 364.870, 364.880, 366.200. DTA may say you cannot challenge the overpayment at this point, so if you think the overpayment did not happen or the amount is not correct, you should request a hearing when you first get the Notice of Overpayment and should not wait to receive notice of the reduction before asking for a hearing. You have 90 days from date of the DTA action to request a fair hearing. See Appeal Rights.
Check with an advocate if DTA uses any means other than reducing current benefits to collect an overpayment. Also check with an advocate if collection will cause your family hardship. Do not agree to repayment terms that you will not be able to meet or that will cause your family hardship.
A fair hearing request should stop collection of the overpayment until the hearing officer makes a decision. 7 C.F.R. § 273.18(e)(6). Contact an advocate if DTA tries to collect the overpayment while your hearing request is pending. DTA cannot take money for a SNAP overpayment out of your TAFDC or EAEDC. See M.G.L. c. 118, § 10, 7 C.F.R. § 273.18(g)(1)(v).