The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

99. Can DTA cut my benefits to pay itself back?

If you are a current recipient, DTA can recover both fraud and non-fraud overpayments by reducing your monthly benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 706.250. This includes overpayments that happened because of a DTA mistake, your mistake or because you got benefits while you were waiting for a hearing and you lost the hearing. 106 C.M.R. § 706.220.

DTA will reduce your EAEDC by 10% of your Standard of Assistance (grant). 106 C.M.R. § 706.290(B). For example, if you have no other income and get a grant of $303 a month, DTA will cut your grant by 10%, or $30.30 a month, to pay an overpayment.

BSI or DTA may try to get you to agree to a bigger reduction. You can refuse. 106 C.M.R. § 706.290(B). Be careful not to agree to repay so much that you do not have enough for your expenses.

You have the right to advance notice and an opportunity for a hearing before your benefits are reduced. 106 C.M.R. §§ 706.210, 343.225. DTA may say you cannot challenge the overpayment at this point, so if you think the overpayment did not happen or the amount is not correct, you should request a hearing when you first get notice of the overpayment and should not wait to receive notice of the reduction before asking for a hearing.

DTA can also recover the overpayment by not paying you for an underpayment you are owed. This is called "offsetting.”


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