Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed February, 2019

TAFDC is only for families who have low income and pregnant women who have a low income. You may be able to get TAFDC if you have some income and own some things.

Income

There is a chart on MassLegalHelp that shows how much monthly income you can have and still be able to get TAFDC benefits. The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) does not count some kinds of income like work study income. There are some exceptions that may let you get TAFDC even if your income is above the levels in the chart.  

See the chart that shows how much income you can have and still get TAFDC benefits.

To learn more about the exceptions to the income limits visit the Advocacy Guide in the Income and Benefits section of MassLegalHelp.

Assets

There is a $2,500 limit on "assets." "Assets" are savings and things that you own. Some things that you own do not count. Your house and your personal belongings like furniture, appliances, and jewelry, do not count. One car per family can be worth more than $2,500 and not count against you.  There is a special calculation for finding out if the car counts against you. See the section "Will owning a car stop me from getting TAFDC?" to learn more.  Things that you can not easily access or sell do not count. For example, if you own something with your spouse or boyfriend and can't sell it without his permission, it should not count against you. Also, if you have a joint account that you cannot use safely, this should not count against you.

Will owning a car stop me from getting TAFDC?

DTA only counts some of the value of your car.

DTA looks at two things:

  1. The Fair Market Value of your car (how much you could sell your car for and
  2. The amount of equity you have in your car (how much you would have left after you sold the car and paid off your car loans).

DTA does not count:

The first $10,000 of the Fair Market Value of your car; and
the first $5,000 of the equity you have in your car.

How DTA gets the value of your car:

  1. Subtract $10,000 from the price you could get if you sold your car.
  2. Subtract $5,000 from what you would have left if you sold your car and paid off your car loans.
  3. Which is the bigger number?
  4. DTA uses the bigger amount.
  5. If the amount is more than $2,500, you have more than $2,500 in assets. You own too much to be able to get TAFDC.
  6. If the amount is less than $2,500, and more than $0 add this number to the value of other assets, like your savings account, you have. As long as adding everything together is $2,500 or less, you may be able to get TAFDC.

           If you add all of your assets together plus the number you get for your car from step 4, and you come up with more than $2,500, you have more than $2,500 in assets.               You may own too much to be able to get TAFDC.

Note

You do not have to sell your car to get TAFDC. This is just a way to figure out how much your car counts as a part of your assets.

Who to call for help

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