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Grandparents and TAFDC

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed August 2023

What is TAFDC?

TAFDC is "Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children." It is a monthly cash benefit for families with children. Once a year, it includes money to buy clothing for each child in the family.  It is the same thing as "welfare."

I am a grandparent raising my grandchild. Can I get TAFDC benefits for my grandchild?

Yes. You can get TAFDC benefits for a grandchild that you are raising. Your grandchild must live with you and

  • be under age 18, or
  • be 18, still in high school, but will graduate before turning 19.

Do I need to have guardianship or legal custody of my grandchild in order to get benefits?

In general you do not need to have guardianship or legal custody to get TAFDC for your grandchild if the child’s parents do not live with you. You just need to show you are related to the child. You can be related by blood or marriage, even if the marriage has ended.

You can prove your relationship with birth certificates, school records, medical records, or other kinds of papers.

Can I get TAFDC benefits for my grandchild only? 

Yes. You can choose if you want to get benefits for your grandchild only, or for yourself as well.

If you choose to get benefits for your grandchild only:

  • DTA will not count your income when they decide how much TAFDC your grandchild can get.Assets do not count for any TAFDC applicants or recipients. 
  • Some TAFDC rules, like work rules and time limits, do not apply.   

Can I get TAFDC benefits for myself if I need them?

Yes, if your income is low enough. If you choose to get benefits for yourself:

  • DTA will count your income when they decide how much TAFDC you and your grandchild can get. 
  • Depending on your age and health, you may also have to meet TAFDC work rules. The TAFDC time limits may also apply. 

Can I get child care for my grandchild for the hours that I work?

Yes! You can get a voucher for free child care if you get TAFDC for a child and you are working. 

What about SNAP monthly food dollars?

You can get SNAP for your grandchild, but only if you get them for yourself as well. DTA will count your income (and the income of any other people who need to be part of your SNAP case) when they decide how much SNAP you and your grandchild will get. 

What about MassHealth?

If you and/or your grandchild are getting TAFDC benefits, you will also get MassHealth. 

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