44. What if I am providing adult foster care to an older adult or person with disabilities?

Adult Foster Care (AFC) is a special MassHealth program for frail elders and adults with disabilities who cannot live alone. 130 C.M.R §408.410-438.  MassHealth pays qualified AFC caregivers to provide in-home care to elder and disabled MassHealth recipients who would otherwise be in a long-term care facility.  Sometimes, AFC caregivers may also be low income and qualify for SNAP benefits. 

If you are responsible to care for a disabled adult under the Adult Foster Care program, you have the choice to include or exclude the adult fostered person from your SNAP household – even if he or she shares all meals with your family. 106 C.M.R.§361.240(F). 

If the fostered adult is not included as a SNAP household member, none of the AFC payments paid to the caregiver or the income of the disabled adult counts for your SNAP benefits. In addition, none of the income of the disabled adult is counted (such as SSI or Social Security). In most cases, caregivers qualify for higher SNAP benefits. However, if excluded, an AFC adult cannot get SNAP benefits as a separate SNAP household. 

Example:  Frank and Emma Wilson provide adult foster care for Emma’s 88-year old mother, Margaret, who lives with them. Emma takes care of her daily needs, including all her meals. Frank works part time earning $1,800/month. The AFC Program pays Emma $1,500 a month. Margaret also receives $800 in Social Security. Under the SNAP rules, Frank and Emma can apply for SNAP benefits as a 2-person household, excluding Margaret. By excluding her, none of her Social Security income nor the AFC stipend count. DTA should only count Frank's $1,800 in earned income for a 2-person SNAP household. This is true even though the 3 of them purchase and prepare the household food together.

Option to exclude fostered adult

A SNAP household can request that DTA remove a fostered adult from the SNAP household at any time. If you are getting lower SNAP benefits because a fostered adult is in the household, and their income is being counted (such as their SSI or Social Security), you can ask DTA to remove the fostered adult.

Disabled adults under age 22

If the fostered adult is a disabled adult child under age 22 living with their parent who provides AFC care, unfortunately the family cannot exclude the fostered adult until they turn age 22 because of the SNAP household composition rules. See Question 36.

For MLRI’s Know Your Rights fliers go to: Masslegalservices.org/content/adult-foster-care-and-snap

DTA Online Guide 

See Appendix G for links to the DTA’s BEACON 5 Online Guide for this section.