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What if you have an outstanding default or arrest warrant?

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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 March 9 2022

You are not eligible for TAFDC if you have an outstanding default or arrest warrant issued by any Massachusetts court. 106 C.M.R. § 701.110 (C). A default warrant may be issued when you miss a court date or when you do not pay a fine, court costs, restitution or other monies ordered by the court or by state law. For example, a default warrant may be issued when someone fails to pay a speeding ticket or child support.

DTA will give you 30 days to show that you have resolved the default or arrest warrant or show that the court made a mistake in issuing it. If you do not give proofs to DTA within 30 days, you will get a notice reducing your TAFDC by the incremental amount for one person. You have a right to appeal this reduction. See Appeal Rights. The rest of your family should remain eligible. What happens if you are excluded from the assistance unit? explains how your income should be counted in figuring your family’s eligibility.

If you get a notice from DTA or the Bureau of Special Investigations (see What should you do if you are told to go to a Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) interview?) that you have an outstanding warrant, or you already know that you have one, you should contact your local legal services program, Appendix D: Massachusetts Legal Services Offices, for advice on how to clear the warrant.. Different courts have different ways of handling warrants. A legal services advocate may be able to help you find out the way your warrant will be handled and if there will be a lawyer at the court to help you. Sometimes, the court will remove the warrant even if you still owe the money but tell you to come back at a later date to pay what they say you owe or show proof you have done community service to work off what they say you owe.

If you get a default warrant removed, be sure to ask the court clerk for a copy so you will have proof for DTA.

 

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