63. When do assets count?

There is no asset test for most SNAP households. The majority of states including Massachusetts use a federal option, known as “categorical eligibility,” which allows states to eliminate the SNAP asset test for most households. 106 C.M.R.§§363.110 and 365.180.

There are four situations when DTA will ask about your assets:

  • Expedited benefits: If you need SNAP benefits quickly, you may qualify if you have less than $150 in countable income and less than $100 in liquid assets (cash on hand, money in the bank), or if your shelter costs exceed your income and liquid assets. 106 C.M.R. § 363.100. Having assets does not affect your ongoing SNAP, just your right to get expedited SNAP. See Question 3 about expedited SNAP.
  • Households with at least one member 60 or older or disabled with gross income above 200% FPL: If you are age 60 or older, or disabled and your gross income exceeds this level, DTA will ask about assets. Your assets must be below $4,250. Assets include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate other than your home, etc. Assets do not include tax-deferred retirement or education accounts, your home or land it sits upon, a car or other excluded items. See 106 C.M.R. § 363.130 for a full list of which assets are counted and 106 C.M.R. § 363.140 lists countable assets, 106 C.M.R §363.140 lists non-countable assets.
  • Income from assets: Any income you receive from an asset does count as income, including interest earned on savings and dividends you receive. 106 C.M.R. § 363.220(B)(5). This also includes withdrawls from your assets on a regular basis (vs one time). If interest is paid quarterly or annually, DTA will average it out over the three, or twelve, months. 106 C.M.R. § 364.340. DTA may ask for bank statements, tax filings or other proof of the amount of interest or dividends you receive.
  • If you or a household member is disqualified due to an intentional program violation (fraud) per 106 C.M.R. § 367.800. These households must have less than $2,750 in assets.

Contact MLRI at info@masslegalservices.org if DTA says you are ineligible due to your assets and you think it is a mistake.

DTA Online Guide 

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