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21. What if DTA does not give me SNAP back to the date I applied (“pro-rating”)?

ALERT:  Many of the rules in the SNAPAdvocacy Guide do NOT apply during the pandemic. Please go to the following COVID-19 & DTA benefits page: https://www.masslegalservices.org/DTA-COVID-19 until further notice for more information about changes.

If DTA denies your SNAP benefits for missing proofs, but you sent DTA the missing proofs within 30 days of the denial, DTA should reopen your SNAP application. You do not need to reapply.

However, DTA may only give you benefits starting with the date DTA pecieved the required proofs, not the date you applied for SNAP. This is called ''pro-rating." DTA delays the start date if they decide you were at fault for the delayed proofs.

Example: Louise applied for SNAP on June 1st but had trouble proving her earnings. She got a “pending denial” notice on June 30th. Louise was finally able to send DTA the missing pay information on July 10th. DTA approved her case, but only gave her SNAP starting July 10th.  

Your SNAP benefits should not be “pro-rated” for the first month if the reason for the delay was not your fault. 106 C.M.R. §§361.910-361.920  

Example: In the above case, Louise told DTA that her employer was refusing to give her a statement about the missing wage information. The DTA office did not offer to contact the employer or otherwise help Louise. In this situation, the delay in getting the earnings proof was not her fault.  DTA should not have prorated her SNAP benefits.   

A delay in sending DTA proofs is not your fault if:  

  • DTA did not tell you which proofs they needed or what alternate proofs they can accept, or  
  • You sent DTA proofs but they did not look at them, or DTA did not inform you that the proofs you sent them were not adequate, 
  • DTA did not give you enough time to get in proofs, or  
  • DTA did not offer help if you had trouble getting the proofs. 

DTA’s eligibility computer system (BEACON) is programmed to decide whether the delay was DTA or applicant fault based on what the computer system thinks happened in the case. This “automated” decision may not be correct, especially if the DTA worker failed to offer help.

It is important to check if your SNAP was pro-rated and, if it was, ask DTA how they determined “fault.” You can figure out if your SNAP was prorated by checking the amount that is put on your card when your case is approved. If you disagree with DTA’s decision to prorate your benefits, you can talk to a Supervisor, the DTA Ombuds Office or file an appeal.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • If you submit verifications to DTA within 30 days after you got a pending denial notice, call the DTA Assistance Line and ask them to review the documents you submitted.
  • If you were denied or terminated from SNAP within the last 90 days, you still have a right to appeal that denial or termination. The hearing officer should accept any proofs you provide at the hearing under special “de novo” appeal rules. See Question 108. You should also reapply for benefits (to get back on quickly) even if you file an appeal for retroactive benefits.

DTA Online Guide:  SNAP > Proration > Proration Overview

Additional Guidance: