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How Can I Meet the TAFDC Work Requirement?

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Reviewed April, 2007

*Due to COVID-19 the work rules are currently suspended. The below rules are not in place right now. Check back for more information.* Learn more at


What is the work requirement?

The TAFDC program has a work requirement.

But you have the right to be excused from the work requirement if you can not work due to health problems, domestic violence, pregnancy, or emergency situations. 

How many hours do I need to work each week if I am under the work requirement?

It depends on the age of the youngest child in your home.

  • If the youngest child is age 9 or older, you have to work or be in a program for 30 hours per week.
  • If the youngest child is age 6 though 8, you have to work or be in a program for 24 per week.
  • If the youngest child is age 2 through 5, you have to work or be in a program for 20 per week.

What kind of things count to meet the work requirement?

Education and training

Any hours that you spend at a school program approved by DTA will count toward meeting your work requirement for up to a total of 12 months. Any time you spend in school while you have an “exemption” (when the work requirement does not apply to you) does not count against this 12 month limit.

Housing search

If you are homeless and living in a shelter, then doing housing search (no matter how many hours) counts as meeting your work requirement. If you are doing the number of hours of housing search that is in your shelter plan, then DTA has to treat you as meeting the TAFDC work requirement.


Any hours you spend in a paid or unpaid internship that is connected with education, training, or job preparation counts toward meeting your work requirement.

Community service

Any hours you spend doing unpaid community service at a non-profit organization or government agency count toward meeting your work requirement. You can find a placement yourself, or DTA can give you one. If DTA does not find a placement for you, then DTA must treat you as meeting the work requirement even though you are not working or doing an activity.

Paid employment

Any hours you work in a paid job or in a program through DTA like Supported Work or the Full Employment Program count toward meeting your work requirement.

Job Readiness/Job Search program

Any hours you spend under a DTA-approved program doing job readiness activities (such as preparing a resume) or job search counts toward meeting your work requirement.

Combination of activities

You can combine hours in two or more of these activities in order to meet your work requirement.


Can I get child care?

Yes. You can get free child care for the hours you are meeting the work rules. You can also get child care for the time it takes you to travel between the child care placement and your work activity. 


What if I can not work?

Read the flier called “What if I can’t meet the TAFDC work requirement?

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