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When do I have to repay an overpayment?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 2023

Under the federal and state SNAP rules, you are required to repay overpayments even if the overpayment was DTA's mistake - unless the overpayment meets certain exceptions. See 106 C.M.R. § 367.495(E).

DTA is not currently collection on overpayments due to the pandemic. When the collection suspension ends, if you are getting SNAP, DTA will take some of your SNAP to repay the overpayment.  

DTA will collect from you and also any others who were adults and in your SNAP household at the time of the overpayment. 106 CMR § 367.490.

Collecting overpayments from current recipients

 DTA has the authority to reduce the amount of a claim. This is called “compromising the claim.” 106 C.M.R. § 367.495(F)  DTA only has a policy to compromise “Agency Error” overpayments for households actively getting SNAP:

  • If all SNAP household members in your household are age 67 or older, DTA will waive the entire (100%) Agency Error overpayment amount. DTA started this policy in May 2018.
  • If any SNAP household members in your household are below age 67, DTA will waive half (50%) of the Agency Error amount. For example, if a household had $900 Agency Error overpayment, DTA will reduce the amount owed to $450. DTA started this policy in November 2018.

Collecting overpayments from non-recipients

Even if DTA caused the overpayment and it is an "agency error," the federal and state SNAP rules allow them to pursue a collection on the overpayment. 

You have the option to ask DTA to compromise your claim if you cannot pay it without hardship. Contact MLRI at [email protected] if you need help trying to convince DTA to reduce or eliminate a SNAP overpayment.

DTA Online Guide: See Appendix G for links to the DTA’s BEACON Online Guide for this section.

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