The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Hotline 7/13: Parental control and relationship requirement in SNAP and TAFDC

Date: 
07/01/2013
Author: 
DTA

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. A woman and her same-sex spouse applied for SNAP benefits. The woman recently requested that we add her newborn to the SNAP household. The baby’s hospital record shows our client as the mother and her spouse as the other parent. Are both parents and their child eligible for SNAP benefits?
A. 1. Yes. If otherwise eligible, the two parents and their child are eligible for SNAP benefits.

Q. 2. Are the three individuals in Question #1 above required to receive benefits in the same SNAP household?
A. 2. Yes. A child living with his or her parents must be in the same SNAP household as the parents. Also, remember that even if both parents’ names were not included in the hospital record, a child under the parental control of adult household members must be in the same household as these adults. See 106 CMR 361.200(A) for details.

Q. 3. Even though one of the women in Question #1 above is not biologically-related to her child, are both parents still eligible for TAFDC?
A. 3. Yes. In the TAFDC Program, parents meet the relationship requirement and the hospital record is an acceptable verification of the relationship requirement, when the birth certificate has not yet been issued or is otherwise unavailable. See 106 CMR 203.585 and 106 CMR 203.570(B) for more information.

Q. 4. When the names of a same-sex married couple appear on their dependent’s birth certificate, are TAFDC child support forms required for information on the other biological parent?
A. 4. No. Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, and a child born to a legally married couple in the Commonwealth is presumed to be the child of both individuals in the marriage. These individuals remain the child’s legal parents, even if there is a separation or divorce.

Q. 5. A same-sex married couple applied for TAFDC with their son. The parents reported that the biological mother of their child is not living with them, but is sending the married couple $100 weekly to help them keep up with general household expenses. Do I count this income?
A. 5. Yes. This financial contribution from the biological mother is treated like any other financial contribution from a non-legally liable relative. If the money is sent directly to the household for general, day-to-day expenses, then the funds are countable unearned income. See 106 CMR 204.210(B) for more information.

Note: For SNAP purposes, this income is also countable. See 106 CMR 363.220(B) for more details.

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