The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

62. What if DTA wants proof of past wages due to a computer match?

Like all states, DTA uses different computer matches to find unreported earnings (and unreported unearned income). If DTA finds out you had income you did not report, they will contact you for more information.  If you were supposed to report income and you failed to do so, you may have an overpayment.  It is also possible you could be sanctioned (cut off for a period of time), if a hearings officer finds out you intentionally failed to report income.  See Question 103.

Most SNAP households are on "simplified reporting" and are not required to report changes until their Interim Report or Recertification is due or the household's gross income exceeds the gross income test for their household. See Question 89.  In this case, you are not required to report new earnings right away, unless your gross income is above this level.

Not all data match information is accurate. From March 2014 until March 2015, DTA was using a highly flawed automated process to match wage information from the state DOR with SNAP and cash case information. In many cases, DTA already had the recipient’s wage information on record, the earnings was non-countable or the earnings were for very small (one day/one pay) amounts.  Many SNAP and cash cases erroneously closed or had significant delays because of these notices.

The Mass Law Reform Institute, MetroWest Legal Services and private counsel filed a lawsuit challenging DTA’s wage match procedures. The lawsuit was settled with DTA in October 2016. Under the settlement, in early 2017 about 17,000 SNAP households will be issued a one-time retroactive SNAP payment. In the winter and spring of 2017 an additional 7,000 households will be invited to reapply and may be eligible for a retroactive SNAP payment. For more information on the wage match lawsuit, visit www.masslegalhelp.org/wagematch or contact MLRI.

DTA Policy Guidance:

Additional Guidance:

  • Information about Milesi wage match settlement and process for class members receiving retroactive SNAP. OLG Transmittal 2017-10 (Jan 20, 2017).
  • Suspension of automatic generation of Employment Verification Notice. PPER Email 2015-12 (March 24, 2015). 

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