TAFDC Advocacy Guide


DTA made a number of changes and suspended a number of rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guide notes in red when a rule was suspended during the pandemic.

Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2021

This Guide shows that the TAFDC program is complicated. As a result, DTA denies benefits to many eligible people. You can help by learning the rules and explaining them to people in need. You can work with other people to make sure DTA offices follow the rules so that people get the benefits they need for themselves and their children.

This Guide also shows that TAFDC rules often hinder the goal of aiding children and families. By joining together, we can change state and federal welfare laws to create programs that better serve the needs of low-income families and actually help families escape poverty.

PDF icon Introduction
In 1935, the United States Congress created the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program as part of the original Social Security Act. The goal was to help states make it possible for poor children without a parent’s support to live at home rather than in an orphanage...This section includes information about The Federal Welfare Block Grant, The Massachusetts TAFDC Program, Recent and Upcoming Welfare Changes, and How to Keep Up with the Law.

PDF icon General Eligibility Rules
answers questions about who can get TAFDC.

PDF icon Assistance Units
An assistance unit is all the members of a household who are counted in determining the amount of the grant. This chapter answers questions about "assistance units" and more...

PDF icon Time Limits and Work Program Rules and Exemptions
Certain families are limited to a total of 24 months of TAFDC benefits in any 5-year period. This Chapter answers questions about the rules, exemptions, waivers and extensions.

PDF icon Financial Eligibility
You must be financially eligible to get TAFDC benefits. To be financially eligible, your countable income and assets must be within TAFDC eligibility limits. If you are within TAFDC eligibility limits, the amount of your grant is figured by comparing your countable income, after any allowable deductions, with the payment standard for your family size. These rules are discussed in more detail in this Part.

PDF icon Benefits and Services
This chapter answers questions about the Benefits and Services the TAFDC program offers.

PDF icon Applications and Proofs
Where do you apply for TAFDC? What should you bring with you? How long does it take to decide if you are eligible? What if you need help right away?

PDF icon Proving Continuing Eligibility
DTA is supposed to review (“reevaluate”) eligibility for most recipients every six months. This part answers questions about this rule.

PDF icon Appeal Rights
If DTA denies benefits or stops or lowers your benefits, you can ask for a “fair hearing.” You can ask for a fair hearing to challenge any DTA decision or action you disagree with.

PDF icon Overpayments and Fraud

PDF icon Appendix A: Department of Transitional Assistance Executive Staff

PDF icon Appendix B: Department of Transitional Assistance Local Office Contacts

PDF icon Appendix C: Client Assistance Coordinators

PDF icon Appendix D: Legal Service Offices

PDF icon TAFDC Advocacy Guide

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