Tell DTA about medical costs for people 60 or older or disabled to boost SNAP

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

For all older adults (age 60 or over) and persons with disabilities:

If you tell DTA about out-of-pocket medical costs, your SNAP benefits may increase! If you have medical costs over $35 per month, DTA allows a $155 deduction from income. This deduction can increase your benefits. If you pay more than $190/month in expenses, you might get even more SNAP.

What kinds of medical and healthcare costs count?

Basic care costs

Medical, dental care, mental health, physical therapy, hospital based care, home health and nursing care, insurance premiums, co-payments or deductibles.

Alternative care

Acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy or herbal treatments prescribed by a licensed practitioner.

Health care supplies and equipment

Special creams, ointments, pain magnets, incontinence supplies, commodes or other supplies and/or equipment recommended by your licensed health practitioner.

Over-the-counter drugs

Pain relievers, insulin, antacids, vitamins, allergy pills, or other remedies recommended by your health practitioner.


If you drive your car to appointments or to pick up drugs or medical supplies at the pharmacy, your mileage counts. Or what you pay for a taxi, bus, subway or train.

Housekeeper and caregiver costs

If you need a housekeeper or care attendant to care for you because of your age or disability.

Vision or hearing care communication devices, other one-time costs

Eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aides, speech or communication equipment and monthly usage fees, other one-time medical costs not covered by insurance.

Is there a limit or cap on the amount of medical costs I can tell DTA about?

No, but you can't get more SNAP than the maximum amount for your household size. If you don't get the maximum, telling DTA about medical costs may increase your SNAP.

  • If you have proof of medical expenses over $35/month, DTA will automatically allow a standard $155 deduction. You need to show proofs of at least $35.01/month to get this $155 deduction.
  • If you have more than $190/month in unreimbursed medical costs, DTA will deduct the actual amount of expenses from your income, after the first $35. There is no cap on what you can claim if you have proof of your unreimbursed health-care expenses.


Jane Smith is 78 and lives in public housing. She gets $1,200/month in Social Security, plus MassHealth. She pays $300/month rent plus utilities including AC. Without claiming her medical expenses, Mrs. Smith gets $176/month in SNAP. Mrs. Smith drives her car to her appointments, buys over-the-counter pain relief, and pays co-pays for her appointments. These medical expenses add up to over $35 per month. Mrs. Smith can self-declare these expenses. Her SNAP benefits will then be calculated using the standard medical deduction of $155/month. Her SNAP benefits will increase to $246/month.

How do I tell DTA about medical costs?

Write down your medical expenses on your application or Recertification. You can also call DTA any time. You can self-declare medical costs under $190/month by telling DTA about your costs in a handwritten note or by calling the DTA Assistance Line at (877) 382-2363. Or, you can use DTA's form here.

If you have costs more than $190/month, keep copies of bills you pay and appointment letters. Appointment letters show the dates you travel. Sometimes your pharmacy can print out your receipts. Give DTA these proofs through DTA Connect, by fax or mail, or in-person at a DTA office.

If you are age 60 or older, please call the DTA Senior Assistance Line (SAO) at (833) 712-8027. The SAO is specially trained to work on SNAP cases for seniors, including discussing medical expenses.


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