Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Manual

1145.015.00 Disqualification Penalties

IM-03 January 13, 2023; IM-91 September 3, 2021; IM-140 November 30, 2005

Disqualifications are entered on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ/FMAM) screen in the eligibility system and are based on:

  • determinations reached by criminal or civil courts (type code CDQ),
  • determinations reached by administrative disqualification hearings (type code HDQ), or
  • the participant signing an IM-161 Waiver of the Right to an Administrative Disqualification Hearing (type code WHC).

    NOTE: These disqualification codes are used on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ/FMAM) screen unless another more appropriate code is needed, such as those listed below under additional program violations.

The penalty for an Intentional Program Violation (IPV) is disqualification from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Only the participant found to have committed the IPV, or the participant signing the Waiver of Administrative Disqualification Hearing (IM-161) is disqualified. Remaining household members are not disqualified, but the adult household members are responsible for repaying any overpayments caused by the IPV. Responsibility for the claim continues until the claim is paid even if the disqualified member leaves the household. The disqualification of the participant continues even if the disqualified member leaves the household or the SNAP case closes.

The length of the disqualification period depends upon whether the finding of an IPV is the first, second, or third for the participant. The purpose of the first IPV disqualification is to deter any future violations. One hearing, waiver, or consent agreement includes all violations prior to the date of the hearing, waiver, or consent agreement. Even if multiple offenses have occurred prior to a decision of an IPV, do not seek separate penalties for each offense. This is considered to be an enhanced penalty.

Consider all violations established for a participant occurring prior to June 1, 1983, regardless of whether the determination was reached after June 1, 1983, as the first violation.

The disqualification periods associated with the IPV are as follows:

  • 12 months for the first violation after August 22, 1996.
  • 24 months for the second violation.
  • 24 months for first violation using SNAP benefits to purchase controlled substance.
  • 10 years for misrepresenting identity or residence to obtain SNAP benefits in more than one location at the same time.
  • Permanently for second violation of purchasing a controlled substance with SNAP benefits.
  • Permanently for trafficking in SNAP benefits of $500 or more.
  • Permanently for the third violation.

NOTE: The first finding of violation does not have to be after August 22, 1996, for the twenty-four month disqualification to be imposed for a second finding.

If incorrectly given a shorter length of disqualification for an IPV disqualification, allow the length of disqualification (six months instead of twelve, twelve instead of twenty-four, or twenty-four instead of permanently) to stand. Do not establish a claim for the extra months the participant should have been disqualified and do not extend the disqualification to the longer time period. Notify the household, however, that the disqualification is for a first, second, or third offense and that any future IPVs will result in a longer disqualification period.

NOTE: This is not a system-generated notice. Designated staff must send a typed letter to the household. Keep a copy of the letter in the ECM, and record a comment at the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ/FMAM) screen.

Additional program violations and the resulting penalties are shown as follows:

  • For the first occurrence of purchasing a controlled substance with SNAP benefits, the participant is disqualified for twenty-four months. The second occurrence results in permanent disqualification. (type code PCS)
  • A participant convicted of trafficking SNAP benefits of $500 or more is permanently disqualified. (type code TRA)
  • A participant found to have made a fraudulent statement or representation about identity or residence in order to receive multiple benefits simultaneously is disqualified for 10 years. (type code RMB)
  • A participant convicted of transacting benefits for firearms, ammunition or explosives is permanently disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits. (type code TEF)

NOTE: These disqualification codes are used on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ/FMAM) screen for these types of disqualifications, regardless of whether the disqualification is determined by a court, hearing, or waiver. Do not enter types CDQ (court), HDQ (hearing), or WHC (waiver) for the above disqualifications, or the incorrect penalty period will be imposed.