What if I have a criminal record or DTA says I am a “fleeing felon”?

A criminal record, including a drug felony conviction, does not bar you from receiving SNAP benefits in Massachusetts. However, you can be barred from SNAP benefits if you:

  • are "actively fleeing" prosecution or punishment for a felony, or
  • violate a condition of probation or parole.

See 106 C.M.R. § 367.800(D).

The 2008 Farm Bill, Section 4112 directs states not to disqualify individuals whose names happen to appear on a criminal database until the state has confirmed that the individual is actually “fleeing prosecution” and that they are being “actively pursued by law enforcement.” USDA has issued preliminary guidance that for a SNAP applicant to be considered “fleeing,” the applicant must be aware that a warrant has been issued for his or her arrest. If you see any households denied or terminated for SNAP benefits on this basis, contact an advocate.

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Additional USDA Policy Guidance on Fleeing Felons
Additional USDA Policy Guidance on Fleeing Felons

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    Produced by Patricia Baker, Victoria Negus, Deborah Harris, Laura Gallant and Rochelle Hahn, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
    Last Updated January 2014
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