What deductions are allowed against my income?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

The following deductions are allowed for all households depending on living situation and expenses:
20 percent of gross earned income. 106 C.M.R. §364.400(B).

Legally obligated child support paid to children outside the home does not count as income – but if it’s paid out of earnings, is included in the calculation of the 20% earned income deduction. See What is the child support exclusion?

Self-employment business expenses. See How is self-employment income counted?

A standard deduction based on household size: 106 C.M.R. §364.400(A).

Standard Deduction


Household of 1-4 persons


Household of 5 persons


Household of 6 or more persons




A child care or disabled adult care deduction if you are working, looking for work, or in school or training. 106 C.M.R. §364.400(D). See What is the child care/dependent care deduction?

A shelter deduction capped at $624/month for households that do not include an elderly or disabled member. For households with an elderly or disabled member, the shelter deduction is un-capped. 106 C.M.R.§364.400(G). See What is the shelter deduction and how is it calculated?

■ A homeless shelter deduction of $152/month if homeless with no shelter costs. 106 C.M.R. §364.400(F). See What is the homeless deduction?
The result is your monthly net income. Your benefits are based on this amount. An additional medical expense deduction is available to elder and disabled households. See What medical expenses can I claim if I am elderly or disabled?

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