72. How does DTA calculate my income for each month?
Your SNAP monthly benefit amount is based on how much income you and the worker are “reasonably certain” you will receive for the period you are on benefits (your certification period). 106 C.M.R. § 364.310.
If you have earned income, DTA will ask for proof of earnings for the 4-week period prior to the date you applied for SNAP. If you cannot get wage information from your employer and need DTA to help, see Question 16.
The 4.333 rule
DTA calculates your monthly income by multiplying the most recent average weekly income by 4.333 to get a monthly amount (by 2.167 for bi-weekly amounts). 106 C.M.R. § 364.340.
Example: Judy received the following gross pay the past 4 weeks: $200, $224, $150, and $250. The average of these weeks is $206 per week. DTA then multiplies this average amount of $206 by 4.333 to get a monthly gross income of $893.
If you are no longer working at your old job, the income from the last job should not be counted in calculating your SNAP benefits. The same is true if other earned or unearned income stops. DTA should calculate your financial eligibility prospectively (see below). 106 C.M.R. § 364.310.
It is possible DTA will count some income from your terminated job for the first month of your SNAP, if you got a final paycheck within the cyclical month of your SNAP application. 106 C.M.R. § 365.840, 106 CMR 364.110. Once that first month passes it should no longer count as part of the SNAP calculation for your household. See Question 57 for an example. Currently, DTA is not counting any terminated income due to COVID policies.
Income from a new job, from Unemployment Benefits or other income source should also not be counted until you and DTA are certain when you will get paid and how much. 106 C.M.R. §§ 364.310, 364.320. If you do not anticipate receipt of the income in the first 30 days of your certification period, it should not count until the next Interim Report or Recertification is due unless you are otherwise required to report it. See Question 94.
Income of school employees
If you are a school employee who is not paid year-round, DTA will average out your income over 12 months if you meet all of the following:
- You work under a renewable annual contract,
- You have written reasonable assurance of employment for the upcoming academic year, and
- You are salaried (not paid on an hourly basis).
Otherwise, if you would like DTA to average your income out over 12 months, you can ask DTA to do that. However, it if often advantageous not to average your income out over a year and instead adjust your SNAP in the months you are not paid (e.g. summer vacation). Contact an advocate if you need advice.
DTA Online Guide
See Appendix G for links to the DTA's BEACON Online Guide for this section.