What is considered a “good cause” reason if I quit my job?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a pdf of the 2023 guide from www.masslegalservices.org/FoodStampSNAPAdvocacyGuide

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

There may be many good reasons why you had to leave a job or reduce your job hours. “Good cause” for quitting a job or decreasing your work hours includes:

■ You lack state-standard child care during the hours of your work, including when you lack special needs child care for a disabled child.

■ You have a family crisis or emergency that you have to deal with during your work hours.

■ The employer makes unreasonable work demands, such as not paying you on schedule.

■ Employment becomes unsuitable because it is below the federal or state minimum wage; the work activity discriminates against you on the basis of sex, race, religion, ethnic origin, or physical or mental handicap; there is a strike or lockout; the employment places unreasonable risks on your health or safety; the hours interfere with your religious observances; you are required to travel more than two hours/day or, if walking, to walk more than two miles round-trip.

■ If you were working more than 20 hours a week, and, for reasons beyond your control, your employment stops or your wages go down.

■ If the amount you are paid in a week equals what you would be paid if you worked at least 20 hours and you were paid the federal minimum wage, and, for reasons beyond your control, the employment stops or wages decrease. The Federal Minimum Wage as of 2020 is $7.25 – meaning if you are paid $145 or more per week before taxes.

■ You left employment because it was seasonal or migratory, or you are between temporary jobs.

■ Acceptance of another job or enrollment in a school or training program requires you to move away or to leave your job.

■ You are under age 60 and resigned from your job but your employer considers it retirement.

See 106 C.M.R. §362.340 and the additional good cause provisions in 106 C.M.R. §362.330(A).

You don’t have to show good cause for leaving a job if you are exempt from work registration rules. 106 C.M.R. §362.340.

Even if not exempt, you do not need to prove “good cause” if you left employment because the employer fired you or asked you to quit, if you reduced your hours of work but did not leave your work, if you stopped a self-employment business or if you quit a job for a new job that fell through. 106 C.M.R. §362.340(D).

If you need to show DTA good cause you need to verify the good cause. For example, give DTA a statement about the emergency situation with the name and phone number of someone who can confirm the information (a “collateral contact”).

Advocacy Reminders:

  • Advocates have successfully challenged DTA SNAP denials for voluntary quit where employers engaged in inappropriate practices including if they: misled the worker about the wage rate, failed to honor a reasonable request about working conditions, failed to pay the legal overtime rate, failed to guarantee the work hours that were promised or pay promised health insurance, failed to reimburse for on-the-job travel. You can also challenge a voluntary quit denial where a household has a good cause reason for leaving employment, including where leaving a job involved domestic violence, family emergencies, lack of transportation or child care. Contact and advocate or MLRI if DTA denies your SNAP due to voluntary quit.

DTA Online Guide Sections:

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