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SNAP for Gig Workers

Date: 
04/28/2021
Author: 
MLRI
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help you and your family buy food at supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers markets. If you are a rideshare or delivery driver - or another type of “gig” worker - and you need food benefits, here’s what you need to know.

 

How do I apply for SNAP benefits?

The fastest way to apply is online or on your smartphone through DTA Connect: DTAConnect.com. You can apply by phone by calling the DTA Assistance Line at 1-877-382-2363 or calling a community organization like the Project Bread FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333. You can also apply by filling out a paper application to mail or fax to DTA.  Learn more at Mass.gov/SNAP.

 

How much SNAP will I get?

The monthly SNAP benefit amount is based on how many people you get SNAP with, countable income, and living expenses, such as rent or child care.

NOTE: During the COVID emergency, monthly SNAP benefit amounts are higher!  If you qualify, you will get at least the maximum SNAP amount for your household.  See chart

Household Size Max. SNAP

1

$234
2 $430
3 $616
4 $782
5 $929
6 $1,114
7 $1,232
8 $1,408
Each add'l member +$176

Many people with very low income or high expenses will get more than the amounts listed (up to $95 more)!

 

What counts as income for SNAP?

Most delivery and rideshare drivers are “independent contractors,” not employees. This includes drivers with: Uber, Lyft, UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, InstaCart, and many other app-based platforms. As an independent contractor, you get a tax form called a 1099 (such as a 1099-K, 1099-MISC, or 1099-NEC) instead of a W2.

Independent contractors are considered self-employed for public benefits like SNAP. The DTAConnect.com SNAP application asks for your “type” of income. For rideshare/delivery work, check off “self-employment.” Then list your estimated pre-tax net income in the field that asks for your "gross income.”

Pre-tax net income is what you make after taking out the costs of doing your work (business expenses), but before your income taxes and other pay deductions. You will need to prove your income and business expenses with DTA – it is ok to list an estimate on the application if you need time to collect proofs! See below for more information.

 

What expenses can I claim as a driver?

You can claim all work-related expenses that you are not reimbursed for. This includes:

  • Car mileage or vehicle costs  (**see below)
  • Tolls and parking (you can claim this in addition to mileage).
  • Platform/App related fees and commissions.
  • The cost of your cell phone and phone plan – but just the portion used for business (ex. a percent of your total bill). You can get an itemized phone bill from your provider to help you figure out what portion of your phone expenses went towards your job.
  • Supplies such as food and drinks for passengers, phone chargers and mounts, and mileage tracking software.

**You have TWO options for how to claim your vehicle expenses:

  1. You can claim miles you drive for work at the federal mileage rate ($.56/mile for 2021). The federal mileage rate covers your gas, car payments or leasing fees, car insurance, repairs, maintenance, and all other car related costs.   OR
  2. You can claim actual car expenses. Be sure to track miles you drive for work vs. personal use to figure out what portion of your car expenses were for your job.

 

How do I prove my net income and business expenses for SNAP?

Send DTA any of the following:

  • A detailed and signed statement of your most recent monthly or quarterly income and itemized expenses, also known as a “Profit/Loss Statement.” (See example next page);
  • A copy of your “Schedule C” tax record. Your Schedule C is usually from last year’s tax return. Submit the Schedule C only if your current income/expenses are similar to last year’s;  OR
  • A statement from an accountant or any other proof of your current income.

You can send DTA proofs on the DTA Connect mobile app after you apply for SNAP, or through DTAConnect.com. You can also fax or mail them. DTA will mail you a notice if they think you need to send in more proofs. 

 

What are my rights I if I am denied SNAP?

Look at DTA Connect to learn about your application status or to see copies of notices DTA mailed you. If you disagree with DTA’s decision, you can:

  • Call the DTA Assistance Line at 1-877-382-2363 to talk with a SNAP worker or supervisor to ask why you were denied. Ask them what you need to do to get your case approved.
  • Call the DTA Ombuds’ office at 617-348-5354 and ask them to review your case. 
  • Request a hearing if you disagree with DTA’s decision. You can fill out the appeal form on the back of the DTA denial notice OR call the Division of Hearings to make a verbal request for a hearing at 617-348-5321. Your hearing will be with an independent hearing officer by phone.
  • Contact your local Legal Services office for legal advice or representation: Masslrf.org

 

Sample Profit/Loss Statement

If you do not have a recent Schedule C – or if your Schedule C is out of date – you can create a “Profit/loss statement. Below is a sample Profit/Loss statement for a 3 month period. You can write this by hand, use an online spreadsheet, or fill out a free template (such as this).

Be sure to give as much detail as you can about your income and expenses. Sign and date the Profit/Loss statement and send it to DTA.  You are not required to submit additional proof of your income or expenses unless DTA has questions about the information you provided.

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