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

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

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).

If law enforcement has arrested you and placed you in custody, you are not SNAP eligible.  Otherwise, under federal SNAP rules, DTA cannot simply accuse you of being a fleeing felon.  DTA must confirm that: 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).  

Individuals with a felony arrest warrant for one of following categories or “codes” under the National Crime Information Center Uniform Offense Classification Codes are considered fleeing felons: escape (4901), flight to avoid (4902), or flight-escape (4999).  

If you are released to a halfway house and get more than half your meals from the halfway house, you are not SNAP eligible.  If you are sentenced to home confinement or home detention (for example, you may have an electronic bracelet), you should not be denied SNAP as if you were still incarcerated.  See Am I eligible for SNAP if I live in a hospital, school, or other institution?

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