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Does DTA have to interview me?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2020

YES. DTA is required to interview all applicants for SNAP benefits. 106 C.M.R. §361.500. The interview must be done by a DTA SNAP worker. Conversations you have with a SNAP Outreach partner are not the official SNAP interview.

  • The DTA interview is usually done by phone. They should call you as soon as they get your SNAP application and screen you for emergency (expedited) benefits.
  • The caller ID should say “COMM of MASS” or 877-382-2363.
  • These calls come through DTA’s computerized phone system. If you pick up the call, you will hear an automated message asking you if you want to talk to a DTA worker. You may need to wait for a few minutes for the worker to come on the line.
  • You can also call the DTA Assistance Line any time after you apply to have your interview: 1-877-382-2363.
  • If you apply in person at a local DTA office, you can have your interview in person and be screened for expedited if you choose to wait to meet with a DTA worker. If you cannot wait to have a full interview, the DTA office should still screen you for expedited SNAP.

DTA should send you a letter with the date and time a DTA worker will call to do the interview. Between the time DTA looks at your application and the date of the scheduled interview, DTA should also try to call you. 
If you do not get any calls from DTA, check that DTA has your correct or current phone number. You can check or update your phone number on DTA Connect.
 

In-office interviews

If you do not have a phone number listed on your application, DTA will schedule an in-person interview at the local office. You can always call the DTA Assistance Line any time and ask for a phone interview instead.

If you are interviewed at the local DTA office, the DTA worker must conduct the interview in a private setting and not in the waiting room where others can hear you. 106 C.M.R.§§361.550 and 360.300. If you feel the space you are in is not private (for example, a cubicle where you can hear other clients), you can ask the DTA worker to move the interview.

If you are applying for DTA cash assistance benefits, you will need to go to the DTA office for an in-person interview. If you are disabled and need a home visit to apply for cash assistance, DTA should make an accommodation to send someone to your home. See Questions 29 and 30. DTA has said they will allow households to apply for cash assistance by phone and mail if you have transportation barriers that prevent you from easily getting to a local DTA office. If DTA says you must come in person to a local office to apply, contact a Supervisor in that office or an advocate.
 

If you miss the interview call

If you do not pick up when DTA calls, DTA should leave a voicemail and call back a couple of minutes later. If you miss the phone call, you can still call the DTA Assistance Line anytime during business hours.
If you miss the scheduled interview, DTA is required to send you a written notice called a “Notice of Missed Interview” (a “NOMI”). The DTA notice must say that you have the right to another interview. 106 C.M.R.§§361.500, 361.700(B)(1).
If you do not have an interview within 30 days of when you applied, your SNAP application will be denied. 106 C.M.R.§361.700(B)(1). You have the right to reapply for benefits. The denied application will not be held against you, but the start date of your benefits will be the date you reapply.

Advocacy Reminders

  • DTA cannot deny your SNAP application or make you reapply if they failed to contact you, failed to send you a notice of initial interview and/or failed to send a notice of missed interview (NOMI). You have a right to call the DTA Assistance Line and ask for a Supervisor, or call the DTA Ombudsman office. You can also file an appeal to seek retroactive benefits. See How do I apply for SNAP benefits?.

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