117. Can DTA suspend or stop my SNAP benefits if I committed an IPV or fraud?
If you are found guilty of an IPV by a court of law or by a DTA hearing officer – or you waived your right to an IPV hearing or signed a consent agreement in court – you will not be eligible for SNAP benefits for yourself for
- one year for the first violation,
- two years for the second violation, and
- permanently for the third violation. 106 C.M.R. § 367.800(A).
DTA can only stop SNAP benefits for the person who committed the intentional program violation. The IPV disqualification does not affect children or other people who are in the same household with the person who committed the IPV. 106 C.M.R. § 367.800(F). However, any income of the disqualified member will count against the rest of the household. The household also has a lower gross income test than other SNAP households. See Question 74.
DTA has to follow special notice and hearing rules if it has charged you with an IPV. 106 C.M.R. §§ 367.600-367.750.
When the disqualification period starts
The disqualification period must start the month following the date that you received written notification of a hearing decision where the hearing officer made an IPV determination. 106 C.M.R. § 367.625. If DTA misses that date, or starts the disqualification late, you should not be disqualified for additional months that DTA missed.
Even if you are no longer getting SNAP at the point of the notification or during the disqualification, the SNAP disqualification period still starts the month following the month of the hearing decision. DTA cannot initiate a disqualification at some later date or suspend the disqualification until you reapply. Contact Legal Services if this is an issue.
Example: On July 15, 2016, a hearing officer found that Rachel committed an IPV on and disqualified her for 12 months. DTA then sent her a notice of the disqualification on July 17th. Rachel was not getting SNAP at the time of the IPV disqualification. Her 12 months start August 2016. She can reapply in September of 2017. If Rachel has another family member, such as a child, she can still get SNAP for that child during the disqualification period, even though she is ineligible.
The disqualification penalties are more severe for people found guilty, in court, of trading SNAP benefits for drugs or firearms, trading more than $500 in benefits, or getting multiple benefits with a fake identity or address. 106 C.M.R. § 367.800(B), (C).
DTA should contact SNAP households when the sanction period is ending to evaluate whether the sanctioned individual can be added back onto the SNAP case.
Trouble Shooting Tips:
If you are found to have made an IPV only for cash (EAEDC or TAFDC) and, when sanctioning you from cash for a period of time DTA also sanctions you from SNAP, contact MLRI at firstname.lastname@example.org. This may not be legal.
Example: Janine was disqualified from EAEDC in October for 6 months due to a EAEDC IPV. DTA sends Janine a notice terminating their EAEDC and SNAP, and barring Janine from getting SNAP for 12 months. This may not be legal. Contact MLRI.
If you received SNAP in another state and you were found to have committed an IPV in that state, DTA can continue that disqualification in Massachusetts. The length of the disqualification period starts with the date you were notified of the original IPV.
Example: Philip was disqualified from SNAP in Montana on January 2022 for 1 year. His SNAP disqualification ends January 2023, even if he moved to Massachusetts in March of 2022.
DTA Online Guide
See Appendix G for links to the DTA's BEACON Online Guide for this section.