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What happens if I recently quit a job?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2020

DTA can deny your SNAP application —or cut your benefits off —if you had to meet the work registration rules (see question 56) and you voluntarily quit a job without a good reason. 106 C.M.R §362.310(B)

The voluntary quit rule may apply to you if:

  • you are subject to the work registration rules (see question 56),
  • you quit a job where you were working 30 or more hours a week,
  • you did not have a good reason for quitting or reducing work hours, and
  • you are applying for SNAP within 60 days of quitting, or you are a current SNAP recipient.

The voluntary quit penalties do not apply if you are exempt from the work registration rules or if you had a good reason to quit your job.

Quitting a job before applying for SNAP

If you are the head of household and you voluntarily quit a job within the 60 days before you applied for SNAP with no good reason, DTA’s SNAP rules say that your entire household cannot get SNAP benefits for three months. 106 C.M.R.§367.800. This sanction or punishment on the entire household is more severe than is allowed under the federal SNAP rules. Contact MLRI if your SNAP is denied due to voluntary quit.
The disqualification penalties increase the second and third times the applicant quits a job without good cause.

Example 1: Frank worked for McDonalds until September 30th when he quit over a personal dispute with a co-worker. He applied for SNAP for his family on October 15th. He is subject to the voluntary quit rules. Because he quit his job within 60 days of his SNAP application, DTA says the whole family is ineligible for three months. If he can show he had a good cause reason for quitting his job the family is eligible as of the date he applied (October 15th).

Proof of termination from a job

In general, DTA should not ask for proof of termination or proof of earnings for jobs that ended before the cyclical month of your ­­­application. DTA should only ask for proof of termination going back further – to 60 days prior to the date of your application – if you are subject to the voluntary quit rules and they think you voluntarily quit a job.

Example 2: Frank quit over a personal dispute with a co-worker. He got his last paycheck on October 5. Frank is a single dad and cares for a 4 year old son. He applied for SNAP on October 15th. Frank is exempt from the work registration rules because he cares for a child under 6 and is not subject to the voluntary quit rules. Because the last digit of his SSN is 4, the start of his cyclical month is the 7th of the month. When he applies on October 15th, DTA should only ask about jobs and income going back to October 7. They should not ask for proof of termination from McDonald’s or for proof of the amount of his last paycheck.
 

Quitting a job while getting SNAP

If you voluntarily quit a job without good cause after the date you applied for SNAP benefits, you are ineligible for three months but the rest of your household is still eligible. 106 C.M.R §367.800(E)(2) & (F). Penalties increase for a second and third quit – to six months of ineligibility and twelve months, respectively. On the first quit, if you are the “head of household,” your whole household is ineligible for three months. On the second and third quit, if you are the head of household your whole household is ineligible for six months. DTA voluntary quit punishments may be more severe than is allowed under the federal SNAP rules. Contact MLRI if your SNAP is denied or stopped due to voluntary quit.
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 question 16 and Appendix C. 106 C.M.R.§361.640(B). Contact MLRI if you are asked to verify that a job ended if the job ended more than 60 days before you applied.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • Current DTA rules about voluntary quit – particularly those where the entire household is sanctioned (made ineligible) -- may exceed federal law. If you are denied or terminated from SNAP because of voluntary quit contact MLRI.
  • DTA must inform you about your rights and responsibilities when you apply for benefits, 106 C.M.R. §361.550, including telling you which household members are subject to the work requirements as well as the penalties for voluntarily quitting a job after you apply for benefits and/or refusing to comply with the work requirements.

DTA Online Guide Sections:

 

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