TAFDC during the COVID-19/coronavirus crisis

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Created May 20, 2020

Many TAFDC rules are not in effect.

DTA offices are closed to the public. DTA is not holding any in-person appointments.

The application process is simpler.

What is TAFDC?

TAFDC stands for "Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children. If your income is low enough, families with children and some pregnant women can get TAFDC. TAFDC includes monthly cash payments, a yearly clothing allowance for each child, and payments for child care if the adult in your family is working or in an approved education and training program.. Some people call TAFDC, "welfare." You can find basic information about who can get TAFDC on the Department of Transitional Assistance website. See Check TAFDC eligibility and how to apply.

How do I apply for TAFDC during COVID-19?

  1. Apply online at DTAConnect.com
    • The application is very short. After you submit it, DTA will interview you by phone.
    • You can get the application in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
    • If you do not already get SNAP, your application counts as a SNAP application also.
    • If you have “Heightened Security” on your DTA case for safety reasons, call DTA’s Ombuds Unit : 617-348-5354.
  2. Call your local DTA office:
    • Find contact information for your local DTA office online. If you try your local office 2 or 3 times and you cannot get through, call DTA’s Ombuds Unit : 617-348-5354.

If you apply by phone, DTA will mail you an application after your interview. Sign and mail the application back to them. It is better to apply online, if you can, because applying over the phone and mailing your application takes more time,

What else do I need to know so I can apply for TAFDC during COVID-19?

DTA will accept your writte statement about things like you lost your job or your child support changed. This statement is a “self-declaration.”

If you get child support:

  • DTA will mail you child support forms to sign, but they should not wait to get the forms back, before they approve your TAFDC case.
  • If it is not safe for you to cooperate with the Child Support Enforcment agency, DTA will accept your statement that it is not safe. You not will need any other proof, for now.

You may have to apply for unemployment, but this should not delay your TAFDC case.

EBT card:

  • If you do not have an EBT card, DTA will mail one to you. It may take 7-10 days to arrive.
  • If you already have an EBT card when you have your phone interview, tell DTA you already have a card .

Are there other changes to the TAFDC program during COVID-19?

TAFDC reevaluations: DTA is postponing reevaluations due in March, April, May and June, 2020 for 6 months. You will keep getting benefits and DTA will tell you when you need to do the reevaluation. 

Direct deposit: Even if you have a bank account, DTA will not require you to have your TAFDC benefits deposited into the account. DTA will put your benefits onto your EBT card.

DTA has suspended many TAFDC rules during the COVID-19 crisis, including:

  • Pre-benefit job search and TAFDC orientation,
  • 24-month time limit,
  • Work program requirements,
  • Immunization, and
  • School attendance, “Learnfare”.

You may still get notices from DTA about these rules. But you can ignore them during the COVID-19 crisis.

What should I do if I start to get Unemployment while I am getting TAFDC?

Tell DTA about your Unemployment within 10 days of getting your first payment.

In most cases, DTA will close your TAFDC case but your SNAP will continue for five months at close to or at the maximum amount. You do not need to report changes to DTA during this 5 month period. You will get a separate notice when it is time to renew your SNAP.  

How do I tell DTA about changes and submit documents?

Write to DTA about any changes.

Put your DTA Agency ID or the last 4 digits of your SSN on all pages.

Keep a copy and add a note to yourself about when and how you sent it.

  1. Use the DTA Connect app on a smartphone or tablet. You can see information about your DTA benefits and upload documents.
  2. Create an account on the DTA Connect website. You can see information about your DTA benefits and upload documents.
  3. Fax the information to (617) 887-8765.
  4. Mail the information to:
    DTA Document Processing Center
    PO Box 4406
    Taunton, MA 02780

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