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

Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2017

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. § 204.236. This is true even though your baby's grandparents have no legal responsibility to support your baby.

Family Size
200% of Poverty Monthly
1 $ 1,980
2 2,670
3 3,360
4 4,050
These are the 2016 amounts. They usually go up in January or February each year. See www.mass.gov/dta/eligibility.

Example

Sherry is 17. Sherry and her baby live with Sherry’s mother, Grace Ryan, and Sherry’s 15-year-old sister. Grace Ryan earns $33,000 per year before taxes, or $2,670 per month. Subtract 200% of the federal poverty level for a family of two ($2,655) from Grace’s monthly earnings. The difference, $80 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. § 204.236.
  • 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 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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