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Proving Continuing Eligibility

Produced by Deborah Harris, Ruth Bourquin, Patricia Baker Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated December 2010

DTA reviews (“reevaluate") eligibility for most TAFDC recipients every six months. DTA reviews households once a year if the adults are on SSI or the adult is a grandparent or other relative who is not and does not have to be in the assistance unit. See Who cannot be in the assistance unit? and Being excluded from the assistance unit. DTA Online Guide Transmittal 2015-65 (Nov. 20, 2015).

  • DTA will schedule an interview at least 30 days before the deadline for your review. The interview will usually be by phone. The interview will be at the DTA office if DTA doesn’t have a phone number for you, if you prefer to be interviewed at DTA, or if you have a Heightened Level of Security Restriction. See Can domestic violence survivors and others get extra confidentiality protections?. If you miss the interview, DTA will send you a notice of missed interview.
  • As part of the review, you may need to give DTA proofs to show you are eligible for TAFDC. If the DTA worker thinks DTA needs more proofs, the worker is supposed to send you a checklist (VC-1) listing the proofs that are needed. If the worker does not send you a checklist, the DTA computer will automatically send you a checklist. DTA should not ask for proof of things that it already has and that probably did not change. 106 C.M.R. § 702.230; DTA Online Guide (TAFDC Reevaluations).
  • DTA will stop your benefits if
    • the interview is not completed by the end of reevaluation period, or
    • DTA has not received and processed the required proofs before the end of the reevaluation period.
  • DTA should not stop your benefits if it is DTA’s fault the reevaluation was not completed or DTA has agreed you had good cause to reschedule your interview.
  • You can appeal DTA’s decision to stop your benefits. If you appeal within 10 days of the notice saying your benefits will be stopped or before your next benefits are due, you can keep your benefits while you are waiting for a hearing decision. See Part 8 Appeal Rights.
  • DTA will reinstate your case if you complete your reevaluation within 30 days of the closing. 106 C.M.R. § 702.240. See DTA Online Guide (Reevaluations Reinstatements); DTA Operations Memo 2012-39 (Aug. 27, 2012).

DTA can review your case sooner if it thinks your eligibility may have changed. 106 C.M.R. § 702.210. Also, if you are getting close to the time limit, DTA may review your eligibility when you go to the office for meetings on how you are preparing for the time limit.

Your case may also be selected for a quality control (QC) review. 106 C.M.R. §§ 701.430, 706.700-706.710. This is a special review to make sure the local welfare office is following the rules. Being selected for QC review does not mean you have done anything wrong. You must cooperate with the QC review or your case will be closed.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • Tell your DTA worker if you need an interview at a special time because of work, child care, a medical problem, or other reason. If DTA schedules an interview for a time that is bad for you, call your worker before the interview to reschedule. If you cannot each your worker or your worker will not reschedule, call the supervisor, Assistant Director, or Director, or the DTA Ombuds Office, 617-348-5354. See Appendix C for Assistant Director and Director names and phone numbers.
  • Each time you go to the DTA office, ask to sign a log if there is one. If you are dropping off proof, ask to have a copy made and date-stamped. Write down the name of the DTA staff you talk to. You can use this as proof later if DTA cannot find the proof or says you missed your appointment.
  • It may be easier to keep a record of what you sent to DTA if you are able to fax the information and get a fax receipt or you use DTA Connect, see How can you find out what is happening with your case?.
  • If you are sending proof by mail, use the DTA postage-paid envelope if you have one. Try to keep a copy of anything you mail and make a note on the copy of the date that you mailed it. See How should you send your proofs? for ways to reduce the risk that DTA will lose your proofs and ways to prove that you sent them.
  • DTA may combine your TAFDC with your SNAP review. Even if DTA does not complete the SNAP review on time and closes the SNAP benefits, it must send you at least 10 days’ advance notice of termination or reduction in your TAFDC benefits. See DTA Online Guide (Reevaluations Q and A); DTA Operations Memo 2012-42 (Sept. 21, 2012).
Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated January 2017

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