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63. Can DTA give me any additional SNAP benefits beyond the 3 months?

ALERT:  Many of the rules in the SNAPAdvocacy Guide do NOT apply during the pandemic. Please go to the following COVID-19 & DTA benefits page: https://www.masslegalservices.org/DTA-COVID-19 until further notice for more information about changes.

There are three possible ways you can get SNAP, even if you used your 3 months and you are not otherwise exempt.

Regaining SNAP:  If you your SNAP ended because of the 3-month ABAWD rule, you can regain SNAP for an additional three consecutive months if you met the SNAP work requirement in any consecutive 30 day period – even if the job or activity ended before you reapplied. 106 C.M.R. §362.320(F),(H).

You will need to verify that you worked at least 80 hours in a 30 day period or otherwise met the ABAWD work rules while not getting SNAP. 

Example: Lee is an ABAWD. He is looking for work but could not find a job that would give him 20 hours a week. He applies for SNAP in January and qualifies for 3 months. In the summer, Lee gets a seasonal job on Cape Cod. He is laid off after the Labor Day and reapplies for SNAP in October. Lee shows DTA his pay stubs to prove he worked over 80 hours during last September. Lee gets 3 more months of SNAP, giving him time to try to meet the work requirements.

Example: Mary is an ABAWD who struggles to find work. She loses her SNAP in April, but starts volunteering at her local food pantry after relying on the pantry for food. She volunteers for 17 hours in June. She reapplies for SNAP in July and proves she volunteered 17 hours in June. Mary gets 3 more months of SNAP, giving her time to try to meet the work requirements

15% Exemption Months:  DTA also has a limited number of months that they are allowed to use to extend the SNAP that ABAWD who are attempting to comply with the rules may be eligible to receive.  This is from a special federal policy called the “15% exemption months.”

DTA currently gives extra months of SNAP to ABAWDs when:

  • You have a criminal record (CORI) and you are working with an organization to get the CORI corrected or sealed.
  • You are in an education or training program through DTA’s SNAP Path to Work but for less than 20 hours a week.
  • You are a victim of domestic violence and a DTA DV specialist agrees you should get extra help from SNAP.

It is possible based on DTA policy changes that in the future other groups of ABAWDs may be eligible for additional “15% exemption months”. Contact Legal Services if you are an ABAWD struggling to meet the work rules because of a CORI or other challenge. 

You were exempt or meeting rules, but DTA did not know.  The third way you can qualify for more than 3 months of SNAP is you were in fact meeting the ABAWD work rules – or you were exempt - but DTA didn’t know at the time.  DTA can give you “credit” for the months you actually met the rules if you tell DTA and provide proof.

For example: Samantha’s nurse practitioner has confirmed she is 4 months pregnant and writes that on a statement. Samantha can get back the “strike” months she used while she was pregnant.

Online Guide Sections:  SNAP > Work Requirements > ABAWD Work Program Requirement > ABAWD Work Program Exemptions, Entering and Removing ABAWD Work Program Sanctions, and Regaining Eligibility after ABAWD Work Program Noncompliance