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How is grandparent income counted towards the baby of a teen parent?


DTA made a number of changes and suspended a number of rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guide notes in red when a rule was suspended during the pandemic.

Produced by Deborah Harris and Betsy Gwin, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2022

If you are a teen parent under 18 and you live with your child’s grandparent (your own parent or the baby’s other grandparent) the grandparent’s income is counted after deducting 200% of the federal poverty guideline for the grandparent, grandparent’s spouse and other dependents who are not receiving assistance. 106 C.M.R. § 704.236. This is true even though your baby’s grandparents have no legal responsibility to support your baby.

Family Size

200% of Poverty Monthly









These are the 2022 amounts. They usually go up in January or February each year. See


Sherry is 17. Sherry and her baby live with Sherry’s mother, Grace Ryan, and Sherry’s 15-year-old sister. Grace Ryan earns $42,000 per year before taxes, or $3,500 per month. Subtract 200% of the federal poverty level for a family of two ($3,052) from Grace’s monthly earnings. The difference, $448 a month, is counted as unearned income against the grant for Sherry and her baby.

Advocacy Reminders

  • Only the income of a grandparent counts. Do not count income of the teen’s stepparent (grandparent’s spouse) or the teen’s siblings. 106 C.M.R. § 704.236.
  • There is no grandparent deeming if a teen parent lives with a non-parent relative such as an aunt, uncle, older sibling, or her own grandparents, and the relative is not receiving TAFDC.
  • There is no grandparent deeming if the teen parent is 18 or 19.
  • There is no grandparent deeming if the teen has left the home and the grandparents are caring for the teen’s baby. The grandparents can get a one-person grant for the baby excluding their income. See Who has a choice about whether to be in the assistance unit?
  • There is no grandparent deeming for MassHealth unless the grandparent applies for MassHealth as part of the family group.

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