58. What if you have a good reason for not meeting Work Program rules?

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Notas finales

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

The Work Program was suspended during the pandemic. DTA has reinstated the Work Program but has not reinstated sanctions. The rules below are the rules before the pandemic.

You should not be sanctioned if you have good cause for not meeting the Work Program rules or your Employment Development Plan. Good cause reasons include:

If DTA thinks you are not meeting the work requirement, it will send you a form listing the good cause reasons. To stop DTA from reducing or cutting off your benefits, circle the good cause reasons that apply, add any other reasons you think are good cause, and return the form to your worker within 10 days.

Advocacy Reminders

You may have good cause if no one at the work placement speaks your language or the placement is not appropriate for some other reason. See not finding an appropriate Work Activity.

  • If you have just been evicted or you are homeless, you may be able to claim good cause on the basis of family crisis, emergency, or other compelling circumstances.
  • Good cause due to family crisis, emergency or other compelling circumstances includes being in a domestic violence shelter or dealing with domestic violence. See Appendix E - Grantees Who Do Not Have to Meet the Work Program Requirement & Good Cause Due to Domestic Violence. You may also be able to get a domestic violence waiver. See getting a waiver or good cause exception to TAFDC rules because of domestic violence.
  • DTA may say you do not have good cause based on lack of appropriate and available child care if the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency won’t say that appropriate child care is not available. See Appendix E - Good Cause Criteria; DTA Field Operations Memo 2005-1A (Apr. 15, 2005). But you have a right (and a duty as a parent) to take into account what any reasonable parent would consider in deciding whether child care is appropriate. See getting child care and choosing providers. Contact your local legal services program, Appendix D, and file an appeal if you have not been referred to child care you think is appropriate and you are denied good cause. See Part 8: Appeal Rights.
  • You should be able to claim good cause if you cannot go to the Work Program activity for any reason beyond your control. You should be able to claim good cause if it is reasonable for you not to go the activity under the circumstances. If your worker will not approve your good cause claim, contact your local legal services program, Appendix D, and file an appeal. See Part 8: Appeal Rights.


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