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).

DTA recently updated its regulations (December 2016), to confirm that fleeing felon status is verified with an outstanding felony arrest warrant for any of the four categories or “codes” under the National Crime Information Center Uniform Offense Classification Codes: escape (4901), flight to avoid (4902), or flight-escape (4999). 

This is consistent with the federal SNAP rules that directs states to confirm if an individual is actually fleeing prosecution by confirming a) there is an outstanding felony warrant, b) the individual is aware of or should be reasonably expect the felony warrant, c) the individual is taking action to avoid being arrested, and d) law enforcement is actively seeking the individual. 7 C.F.R. §273.11(n). Bottom line, unless law enforcement has arrested an individual and placed them in custody, the individual is not barred from SNAP. FR  55410 Vol. 80, No. 175, 9/10/15

Advocacy Reminder:

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Last Updated January 2017

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