98. How do you apply for TAFDC?

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You can apply for TAFDC online, by phone, or in person.

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Apply online at DTAConnect.com
  • The application is very short. You can do it on a smartphone or a computer. 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 are approved, your benefits will start effective the day you submitted the online application or the next business day if you submitted the application after 5:00 PM or on a weekend or holiday. Appendix E (DTA Online Guide Links).
Apply by telephone
Apply in person
  • Go to your local DTA office. https://www.mass.gov/orgs/department-of-transitional-assistance/locations
  • Be sure to sign a Request for Assistance or use a DTA self-service kiosk to apply online the first time you go to the DTA office. You can do this even if there is no worker there to take your application. You have a right to sign a Request for Assistance even if the worker thinks you are not eligible. 106 C.M.R. §§ 702.115, 702.150. If DTA doesn’t give you a Request for Assistance form and you are unable to apply online, write a request for TAFDC (and SNAP) on a piece of paper and sign the paper.
Language Access
  • DTA must provide a bilingual worker or assistant or a professional interpreter if you want one and you use American Sign Language or your primary language is not English, regardless of language, national origin or noncitizen status. There are no magic words you have to say to request an interpreter. A professional interpreter may be provided in-person or by telephone. 106 C.M.R. § 701.360; Appendix E (DTA Online Guide Links); DTA Operations Memos 2013-64 (Dec. 19, 2013), 2013-11 (Mar. 19, 2013); DTA Field Operations Memo 2008-16 (Apr. 1, 2008).
  • You can use your own interpreter if you want, but this can be risky if the person is not a professional interpreter. You cannot use a child to interpret for you except to schedule an appointment. Children under age 12 cannot be asked to interpret for any purpose. 106 C.M.R. §
    701.360. DTA Operations Memo 2013-11 (Mar. 19, 2013); DTA Field Operations Memo 2008-16 (Apr. 1, 2008).
  • You have the right to refuse a particular interpreter if you are uncomfortable with the interpreter for personal or other reasons. You don’t have to give a reason. DTA must then provide a professional telephone interpreter. DTA Operations Memo 2013-11 (Mar. 19, 2013).
Advocacy Reminders
  • You can also submit an application by fax or mail. DTA Online Guide (Application (RFA)). Say you want to apply for TAFDC and SNAP, put the date, sign our name, and say how to contact you.
  • If you have a vision, hearing or communication impairment, DTA should ask you what will help you communicate with DTA. See disability making it hard to meet DTA rules or use DTA services; Appendix E (DTA Online Guide Links); DTA Operations Memo 2013-64 (Dec. 19, 2013). If DTA doesn’t give you the help you need, ask for the Client Assistance Coordinator. See how to ask DTA for an accommodation.
  • You have a right to a private space for discussions with DTA staff. DTA Operations Bulletins 2018-1, 2017-9.
  • DTA is required to tell SNAP applicants about TAFDC benefits if the SNAP applicant is caring for a child and is a parent with little or no income or a non-parent caring for a child regardless of income. The DTA SNAP worker is supposed to explain that you can apply online or you can have a DTA worker call you to take your application by telephone. DTA Online Guide (Informing Clients about Possible TAFDC and EAEDC benefits). See telling DTA about your child’s other parent if the child support rules for TAFDC are a problem for you.
  • DTA sometimes issues a “No Trespass Order” barring certain people from the DTA office. See Appendix E (DTA Online Guide Links). This may not be legal. If it is a problem for you, call the Ombuds Office, 617-348-5354, which should make sure that you can apply and get your benefits on time.
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