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

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

There are a few ways you can get continue to get SNAP or get SNAP back, even if you have used your 3 months of benefits and if you are not exempt.

If you are an ABAWD and you lose SNAP after 3 months, there are some options to get SNAP back – but you must show DTA you have met or are meeting an exemption or the work rules. You may also need to re-apply.

“Regaining” SNAP

You can get SNAP back if you show DTA you are exempt, meeting, or will meet the work rules for any consecutive 30 day period. When you apply for SNAP, show DTA:

  • You are now exempt,
  • You worked a total of 80 hours in 30 days,
  • You did an Employment and Training activity for 80 hours in 30 days,
  • You volunteered the required number of hours in 30 days, or
  • You will meet the work rules within a 30 day period (for example, you have a job lined up and your shifts are about to start).

There is no limit to how many times you can get SNAP back if you show you are exempt, meeting, or will meet the work rules.

If you met the work rules but used up your 3 months, you can get an additional 3 months of consecutive SNAP even if you are no longer meeting the work rules. You can get this special “second three months” one time in the 36 month period. See What is the “ABAWD” 3-month time limit for childless adults age 18 to 50 ? for information about the 36 month period.

These “regaining SNAP” rules are true if you were on or off SNAP at the time you met the rules and even if the job or activity ended before you reapplied. 106 C.M.R. §362.320(F),(H).

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 July and gets 3 months. He loses his SNAP on October l for not meeting the work rules. In the December, Lee gets a seasonal job that lasts just 30 days. Lee shows DTA his pay stubs to prove he worked over 80 hours in December. Lee can get 3 more months of SNAP, giving him time to try to meet the work rules.

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 15 hours in June. She reapplies for SNAP in July and proves she volunteered 15 hours in June. Mary gets 3 more months of SNAP, giving her time to try to meet the work rules.

Get “strike” months back

If you were exempt from or meeting the work rules for any of the 3 strike months (the 3 months of time limited SNAP), tell DTA. If you have proof you were exempt or meeting the work rules while your 3-month clock was ticking, DTA can give you “credit” for the months you met the rules – even if at the time they did not know you were exempt or meeting the rules.

Example

Samantha was pregnant while she get SNAP but did not think to tell DTA. Her MD has confirmed she is currently 4 months pregnant and writes that on a statement. Samantha can get back the 3 “strike” months she used while she was pregnant. 

Keeping SNAP with special exemption months

DTA currently has a limited number of months that they are allowed to use to give ABAWDs more than 3 months of SNAP.

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 the program runs 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.

These rules may change in 2020. The Trump Administration is planning to take away most of these “individual exemption months” at the end of 2020. For updated information on this, see MLRI’s webpage: Masslegalservices.org/ABAWD.

DTA Online Guide Sections:

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