Are there work rules for SNAP?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.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 2022 guide from

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

Any member of your family who is between ages 16 and 60 – and not exempt – must register for work during the SNAP application process. 106 C.M.R. §362.310. SNAP work registration rules are different from the ABAWD time limit and ABAWD work rules. See What is the “ABAWD” 3-month time limit for childless adults age 18 to 50 ?

When you sign the SNAP application, you are also agreeing to register for work. This means that, unless you are exempt, you agree that:

  • You will not quit a job unless you have a good reason (“good cause”). This applies to jobs that are 30 hours per week or more.
  • If you are working 30 hours or more, you will not reduce your hours to less than 30 hours a week unless you have a good reason.
  • If you are offered a job, you must accept it unless you have a good reason to refuse. See What is considered a “good cause” reason if I quit my job?

Exemptions from work registration

Yes. The SNAP rules provide key exemptions from the SNAP “work registration” rules. 106 C.M.R.§362.310(B) The exemptions include if you:

  • get TAFDC or EAEDC benefits
  • are pregnant (in your third trimester or later)
  • are physically or mentally unfit for employment
  • earn more than $217.50 per week (fed minimum wage x 30)
  • are a student enrolled in school at least half-time
  • have applied for or get Unemployment Benefits
  • care for a child under age 6 or a person with a disability (this person does not need to live with you)
  • are in a substance abuse treatment program

These exemptions are most important if DTA thinks you voluntarily quit a job within the past 60 days, or if you are on strike. They are similar to but more limited than the ABAWD time limit exemptions.

DTA Online Guide Sections:Home > SNAP > Work Requirements > General SNAP Work Requirements > General SNAP Work Requirements and
> General Work Requirements Exemptions and > General Work Requirements Good Cause Criteria

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Help us improve MassLegalHelp!

Take a short survey to tell us what works and what is missing.

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
9am and 4pm