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More Food Stamps for Families with Child Care Expenses

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed April 2021

NOTE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, all households will get the maximum SNAP benefit for their household size. But you should still claim dependent care expenses when you apply for SNAP so that you continue to get the benefits you are entitled to when the pandemic ends. Click here to learn more about changes to SNAP during COVID-19.

For all low-income families

  • If you pay for the care of any child under 18 or a disabled adult of any age, your family can get more SNAP benefits! SNAP used to be called Food Stamps.
  • Every $3 you spend on childcare may increase your SNAP benefits by $1 – up to the maximum SNAP amount for your household.
  • You can claim anything you spend on dependent care when: 
    • You are working, or looking for a job; 
    • You are attending school or work-related training;
    • You are doing volunteer work or another activity that the SNAP Employment/Training (E&T) Program requires.

What can I claim as expenses?

Child care or Adult care
All child or adult care expenses that you are responsible for paying. This includes co-payments;
Out-of-school activities for any child under 18
Any supervised activity, including before and after school, school vacation, summer camps, YMCA, and Boys/Girls Club fees;
(56 cents/mile)
If you drive your child to or from child care, camp or a school program.
Public Transportation Costs
If you or your child takes a bus, subway or train to or from child care, camp or a school program.

Is there a limit or cap on the expenses I can claim?

No. You can claim the full amount of costs you pay.


Jane and her husband have two children, aged 5 and 8. Jane works 40 hours a week and her husband is in a full time training program. They need after school child care. Jane earns $440/week. Jane’s SNAP is $394/month. She sends DTA a letter explaining they pay $150 per week for after school care (including transportation). Jane’s SNAP increases to $589 per month!

How do I claim child care or adult care expenses?

You can "self-attest" to these expenses unless DTA finds the information questionable. Write the expenses down on your application or recertification form, or give your DTA worker a signed, sworn statement. See MLRI's Dependent Care Deduction Know Your Rights flier. DTA should ask for proofs only if the information you provide is questionable.  

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