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What if I was overpaid SNAP benefits?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

If you get more SNAP benefits than you are eligible for, DTA can recover the overpayment. 106 C.M.R. § 367.490. An overpayment can happen in four ways:

  • DTA made a mistake and gave you too much in SNAP. This is called an Agency Error.
  • You made an unintentional mistake that caused your SNAP to be higher than you should have received. This is called an Unintentional Program Violation (UPV).
  • You received SNAP benefits while you were waiting for a hearing and you then lost the hearing.
  • You are found by a court or a DTA administrative hearings officer to have committed fraud or an "Intentional Program Violation" (IPV).

See 106 C.M.R. § 367.495106 C.M.R. § 367.275.

DTA will not pursue an Agency Error overpayment if the amount is for less than $600. For example, if DTA paid you an extra $500 in SNAP by mistake, DTA will not ask you to pay it back.

DTA will not pursue a UPV or IPV overpayment if the amount is less than $125 - unless DTA discovered the overpayment during a Quality Control case review. 106 C.M.R. § 364.870.

This chart summarizes when DTA will and will not pursue an overpayment:

Will DTA pursue an overpayment?


Overpayment Occurred 12+ Months  Before DTA Discovery

Overpayment Less Than $600

Overpayment Less Than $125

Agency Error



Not applicable

Client Error - UPV





Yes (up to 6 years)



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