57. What happens if I quit a job shortly before applying for SNAP?

DTA can deny your SNAP application if you are not exempt from the "voluntary quit" rules (see Question 56and you voluntarily quit a job without a good reason.  106 C.M.R. § 362.310(A)

The voluntary quit rule may apply to you if:

  • you are not exempt from the voluntary quit rules (see Question 56),
  • you quit a job where you were earning $217.50/week, or you were working 30 or more hours per week and reduced your hours enough that your earnings dropped below $217.50/week,
  • you did not have a good reason for quitting or reducing work hours, (see Question 58and
  • you are applying for SNAP within 60 days of quitting or reducing your work hours.

These rules do not apply if you ended a self-employment job.

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.

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 formonths. 106 C.M.R. § 367.800

The disqualification penalties increase the second and third times the applicant quits a job without good cause.

This sanction or punishment on the entire household is more severe than is allowed under the federal SNAP rules. Contact MLRI at info@masslegalservices.org if your SNAP is denied due to voluntary quit.

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 income ending or termination from a job

Currently, DTA workers should not ask for proof of a job that has ended (terminated). DTA should accept verbal or written statements about income that has ended.

The only exception to this policy is when DTA gets conflicting earnings data from a database called Equifax or “The Work Number” that some employers (usually large companies or chains) use to report earnings.

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 at info@masslegalservices.org if you are asked to verify that a job ended.

DTA Online Guide

See Appendix G for links to the DTA’s BEACON 5 Online Guide on this section.