113. How does DTA calculate the amount of the SNAP overpayment?

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

An overpayment is the difference between the SNAP you received and the SNAP benefits you were eligible to receive based on the correct information about your case.

  • DTA should include all applicable deductions, just like when it normally calculates your SNAP. See counting income of someone not eligible in your SNAP household. However, if the overpayment is due to unreported income, DTA will not include the 20% earnings disregard if the overpayment was your fault (a UPV) or if you were found to have committed fraud (an IPV)1.


Jill accidentally didn’t report earnings of $1,000 per month. When calculating her overpayment, DTA will count the full $1,000/month (instead of $800). If it turns out that Jill had sent in her pay stubs and DTA failed to act on the proofs she had submitted, DTA should only count $800 when calculating the overpayment – because the 20% earnings disregard does apply for Agency Error overpayments.


Jane started a job in mid-June. She gets both SNAP and TAFDC. Because she is getting TAFDC, she is on change reporting (not simplified reporting). Jane was confused about the reporting rules and did not report her new job until her reevaluation for TAFDC and SNAP in October (four months late). DTA decided Jane had an Unintentional Program Violation overpayment. DTA must calculate the SNAP and cash overpayment by looking at Jane’s actual income month by month, and not average her total income over the four months.

  • DTA should reduce the amount of an overpayment by any amount of SNAP they “expunged” (took away if you didn’t use your EBT card for a year)5. See forgetting to use your EBT card.
  • DTA should reduce the overpayment by any underpayment of SNAP that DTA owes you6.
  • DTA should not include any overpayment amounts that occurred more than 12 months before the date a UPV or
    Agency Error overpayment was “discovered” by DTA. For IPVs, DTA can calculate the overpayment going back 6 years. DTA tracks and should include in the packet of evidence about the overpayment the date the overpayment was discovered.


Overpayments and reporting changes: There is no overpayment if you did not report a change that you were not required to report or would not matter.

For example, if you were on Simplified Reporting and you did not report an increase in income in between your Interim Report and your Recertification, there is no overpayment unless the increase put your household over the gross income limit, and you were required to report when your household went over the gross income limit. See Simplified Reporting and when you must report changes to DTA.

Calculating the overpayment: The first month of an overpayment is the month the change would have been effective if it had been reported timely. In May 2017 federal rules were changed regarding timely reporting of income in simplified reporting cases. Effective May 8, 2017, households are not required to report if their income exceeds the gross income test until the 10th day of the month following the month in which the income exceeded the gross income test (the old rule was within 10 days of the receipt of income)7. See Simplified Reporting and when you must report changes to DTA. Contact MLRI at [email protected] if DTA pursues an overpayment against your household because your income exceeded the limit for your household size.

Households with ineligible non-citizens: If your household includes an ineligible non-citizen with income and DTA says you are overpaid, check to make sure DTA followed the special income counting rules when calculating the overpayment. See counting income of an ineligible immigrant.

Supplemental payments: DTA should not take any supplemental payments that are issued in connection to your current SNAP and a change you report.

Advocacy help: Contact MLRI at [email protected] if you have questions about an overpayment, how it was calculated, or for a copy of DTA’s most recent SNAP Claims Policy.

DTA Online Guide

See Appendix G for links to the DTA’s BEACON Online Guide for this section

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