Hotline 2/15: SNAP medical expenses


From the Hotline

If you have any questions on this column or other policy and procedural material, please have your Hotline designee call the Policy Hotline at 617-348-8478.

Q. 1. Are payments a SNAP client is making to cover her recent dental procedure considered an allowable medical expense deduction?
A. 1. Yes. Dental care expenses and dental insurance premiums are included in the deduction when calculating the SNAP elderly or disabled household member’s monthly medical expenses. For more details on allowable medical expenses in SNAP, refer to 106 CMR 364.400(C). For more information on SNAP elderly or disabled household members, refer to 106 CMR 361.210.

Q. 2. Do monthly prescription drug plan premiums also qualify as an allowable SNAP medical expense?
A. 2. Yes. Prescription drug plan premiums, as well as any related costs paid for the prescription drugs, are an allowable expense; this includes any postage and delivery fees for mail order medications.

Q. 3. Some SNAP clients who are disabled are required by their physicians to purchase low-salt or low-sugar diets. Are the extra costs of these special diets considered an allowable medical expense?
A. 3. No. Special diets are not an allowable medical expense. However, medically-related dietary supplements, such as “Ensure” are allowed as a medical expense.

Q. 4. Must a physician or other health professional prescribe an over the counter medical-related purchase, before it can be included in the client’s medical expense deduction?
A. 4. No. Health care professionals do not need to prescribe over the counter medications. However, per 106 CMR364.400(C), over the counter medications must be approved by a licensed practitioner or other qualified health professional.

Q. 5. My client is vision impaired and maintains the help of a service dog. Is the cost of feeding this dog an allowable SNAP medical expense?
A. 5. Yes. Clients eligible for the SNAP medical expense deduction may submit expenses associated with securing and maintaining a service animal, as long as the animal care serves the purpose of assisting the client with a special need. These expenses include food purchased for the service animal.

For more information on allowable medical expense deductions, refer to the SNAP Medical Deductions Job Aid. 

Q. 6. In BEACON, can I group my client’s medical expenses together when entering the information?
A. 6. No. Select the specific medical type from the medical expense type dropdown list. Each expense type must be entered separately. Also, remember that when medical expenses are listed by specific type at recertification, it is easier to identify and then zero-out any items that will be eliminated in the subsequent certification period. The medical expense types in BEACON are:

  • 2004 Med. Drug Dscnt Subsidy 2005 Med. Drug Dscnt Subsidy
  • Dentures, Hearing, Prosthetics Hospitalization
  • Maintaining an Attendant Masshealth Recipient Expenses
  • Med. Discount Flat Allow Medical Supplies
  • Medical and Dental Care Medicare Part D Deductible
  • Other Prescription Eye Glasses
  • Prescription/Medications Seeing Eye Dog/Hearing Dog
  • Transportation and Lodging
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