Does DTA have to interview me and what happens if I miss the interview?

DTA is required to interview all applicants for SNAP benefits, 106 C.M.R. § 361.500, except for SSI Bay State CAP households. The SNAP interview is usually conducted by phone.   

Scheduling the interview

A DTA worker should try to call you within two (2) business days of when DTA received your SNAP application to screen you for emergency benefits and schedule an interview. See Can I Get Emergency SNAP Benefits?.  If you miss a phone call and want to get in touch with a worker at DTA for an interview, call the DTA Assistance Line at 1-877-382-2363. 

If DTA has not reached you within 2 days, DTA should send a written notice with a date and time when a DTA worker will call. This scheduled interview should take place within seven (7) days of your application so that DTA can screen you for expedited (emergency) benefits.  

Can I be scheduled for an in-office interview?

If you do not have a phone, DTA will schedule an in-person interview at the local office. But you can always call the DTA Assistance Line any time and ask for the interview, using the phone of a helping agency or friend.

You will need to go to the DTA office for an in-person interview if you are applying for TAFDC or EAEDC cash assistance benefits, unless you request and qualify for an accommodation (see How Do I Ask DTA for and Accommodation?). If you are disabled and need a home visit, DTA also has the authority to make an accommodation to send someone to your home. See What if a Disability Makes it Hard for Me to Apply, Get Proofs, or Compy with SNAP Rules?.

If you are scheduled for an in-office interview solely because DTA says you need a photo EBT card, that is incorrect. See What are Photo EBT Cards?

If you do have an interview in a local DTA, the DTA worker must conduct the interview in a private setting and not in the waiting room where others can hear you. Your personal information must be kept private and not shared unless you give written permission. 106 C.M.R. §§ 361.550, 360.300.

What happens during the interview?

The role of the DTA worker during the interview is to:

  • Confirm the information you gave on your application and   information DTA gets through government data bases.
  • Screen you for expedited (emergency) benefits that can be issued within 7 days if you are eligible. See Can I Get Emergency SNAP Benefits?.
  • Review the documents you sent in and tell you what proofs or verifications they need and by what date.
  • Review the SNAP time limit and work requirements if you are a childless individual (ABAWD) subject to the time limit or work requirements. See What is the ABAWD Time Limit? and Who is Exempt from the ABAWD Time Limit?.
  • Tell you how long your benefits are certified for and when you need to report changes to DTA.
  • Answer any questions you have and offer to help if you need help getting verifications or contacting a third party for information.
  • Explain your rights and responsibilities, as well as the penalties for committing fraud or for other program rules.

What happens after the interview?

You should receive a DTA letter with a Verification Checklist if there are proofs DTA needs. See Can Someone Else Apply for Me?.  If no proofs are missing, DTA should quickly approve your case if you are eligible.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • You can call DTA any time after submitting your SNAP application for an interview. It is best to wait at least 2 business days to be sure it is in their computer system. Call 1-877-382-2363 and follow the prompts to get an interview with a DTA worker.
  • Before or during the interview, the DTA worker should review the documents you sent in with your application. If the DTA worker claims there are not documents that you know you sent or asks you to send in documents you sent before, see How Can the DTA Ombuds Office Help?.

DTA Policy Guidance:

DTA Online Guide Sections: General Application Interview: SNAP > Application Processing > SNAP Application Processing > The Application Interview, and  Business Process (BP) > Procedures (BP) > Processing Procedures >, and  > Application Processing > SNAP Application Processing > Expedited Benefits

Additional Guidance
  • DTA instructs workers that home visits can be scheduled to take an application and conduct an interview, especially if needed for an accommodation due to client disability. DTA Transitions FYI (Nov 2011)
  • Workers must contact SNAP applicant within two business days to schedule an interview. F.O. Memo #2011-38 (Aug. 3, 2011)
  • If no phone number for client is listed on application, DTA will schedule in-office interview. Transitions Hotline Q&A (Sept. 2006). 

Hide Additional Policy Guidance

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Last Updated January 2016

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