What if DTA does not accept the proofs I sent them?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

DTA must accept any documents that reasonably prove your eligibility unless the information is questionable. 106 C.M.R.§ 361.640. DTA must review the individual circumstances of each household before determining whether this information is questionable. And remember, DTA must offer to help you get proof by directly contacting a third party. See Should DTA help me if I am having trouble getting proofs?

“Questionable” means the information you gave DTA is inconsistent with information you already shared with them or information they know about (e.g. through database checks). 106 C.M.R.§361.620.   

Example: Sandy applied for SNAP. An RMV check shows that her ex-husband still registers his car at her address. During her interview she explained that she divorced her husband six months ago and he does not live with her. This information is not questionable and it does not contradict what she said during her interview. Sandy has no control over her husband and does not own the car. Sandy should not be required to prove where her ex lives.


Troubleshooting tips

Proof of income from third parties: If income verification depends on the cooperation of a third party – such as getting wage information from an employer – DTA should accept your self-declaration if the employer will not cooperate. This is the “best evidence available” rule under 106 CMR 361.610(A). DTA should also offer assistance if you are having trouble getting a document. See Should DTA help me if I am having trouble getting proofs?

DTA rejects proofs: If DTA does not accept the proofs you give them, the DTA worker must record the reason for rejecting your proofs in your SNAP case in what are  called “case narrative” notes. 106 C.M.R.§361.660

Inaccessible proofs: If DTA asks you to prove something that you cannot  provide or DTA fails to offer you help, you can speak with a Supervisor, call the Ombuds Office or file an appeal.

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