DTA can deny your SNAP benefits—or cut you off —if you are subject to the SNAP work requirements and you voluntarily quit a job without good cause.
Here’s how the rules on voluntary quit work
- If you voluntarily quit a job without good cause and you apply for SNAP within 60 days of quitting, your whole household cannot get SNAP benefits for three months from the date you quit the job. This disqualification runs from the date you quit the job, not the date you apply for benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 362.340. This rule does not apply if the household member who quit leaves the household, gets a new job, or becomes exempt from work registration rules. The penalties increase the second and third times the applicant quits a job without good cause.
- If you voluntarily quit a job without good cause after the date you applied for SNAP benefits or while you are on benefits, you are ineligible for three months. 106 C.M.R. § 367.800(E)(2) & (F). The other members in your household are still eligible. This rule does not apply if the household member who quit gets a new job or becomes exempt from work registration rules. Penalties increase for a second and third quit. On the third quit, if you are the "head of household," your whole household is ineligible for six months.
DTA should only ask you to verify work you had within 60 days prior to application. DTA does not need to know about or verify jobs you had more than 60 days prior. If you need help getting information from a past employer, you can give DTA permission to make a "collateral contact" with the employer directly. See What if I am having trouble getting all the proofs, or the proofs get to DTA late? and Appendix C. 106 C.M.R. § 361.640(B).
Here’s how the rules on strikers work
If the reason you need SNAP benefits is because you are on a work strike, you and your household cannot get SNAP unless you were income-eligible for SNAP before you went on strike. If you were eligible before the strike, DTA will count either the value of your current income or your income before you went on strike, whichever is higher. 106 C.M.R § 361.240(E)(2).
You are not considered on strike if:
- your former boss locked you out or permanently replaced you, or
- you are not on strike but you cannot work because other workers are on strike or because you are afraid to cross a picket line, or
- you were exempt from work registration on the day before the strike. See Who must register for work and do job search, and who’s exempt? for a list of work registration exemptions.
- If you meet an exemption from the SNAP work registration/work search rules, the voluntary quit sanctions do not apply to you. 106 C.M.R. § 362.340(A)(1). Exemptions include incapacitation, going into a substance abuse treatment program, being more than three months pregnant, receiving UI benefits, attending an approved program of study, etc. See Who must register for work and do job search, and who's exempt?.
- There are many exemptions from work registration. Many people who think they are on strike are not considered strikers for SNAP purposes.
Additional Policy Guidance on Voluntary Quit Rules
- For participating employers, DTA can check the end date of employment through the Work Number. Ops Memo 2013-33 (July 9, 2013).
- Start date of disqualification penalty begins with date of quit, not date of SNAP application. Transitions Hotline Q&A (July 2000).
Produced by Patricia Baker, Victoria Negus, Deborah Harris, Laura Gallant and Rochelle Hahn, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Last updated January 2014