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What if you are a domestic violence survivor?


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 and Betsy Gwin, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2022

A number of special rules and procedures apply to survivors of domestic violence. See DTA Online Guide (Domestic Violence); DTA Field Operations Memo 2010-35 (Sept. 20, 2010).

Each DTA office has a Domestic Violence Specialist assigned to it. You can ask to see the Domestic Violence Specialist to help you develop a safety plan, help you get documents like birth certificates or court records, or locate services for your family.

The Domestic Violence Specialist will also help you fill out forms to request a waiver of TAFDC rules because of domestic violence. See Can you get a waiver or good cause exception to welfare rules because of domestic violence?

The Domestic Violence Specialist can also help you verify good cause for not cooperating with child support enforcement or can help you seek child support safely. See Do you have to tell DTA anything about your child’s other parent?

For more information and phone numbers for Domestic Violence Specialists, ask DTA for DTA’s domestic violence brochure, or go to DTA’s Domestic Violence brochure. The brochure is available in seven languages.

You can ask DTA for special confidentiality protections and block access to DTA Connect.. See Can domestic violence survivors and others get extra confidentiality protections? You can ask to use an alternate social security number (SSN). See Do you have to have a Social Security number?

You can ask DTA to grant you “good cause” for not meeting a DTA rule, including the time limit, What is the time limit rule and when does your time limit start over?, the Work Program, What is the Work Program?, and teen parent school attendance requirements. What are the school attendance rules for teen parents and pregnant teens? DTA Online Guide (Grounds for Good Cause Due to Domestic Violence); DTA Online Guide (Good Cause Criteria – TAFDC).

There are special eligibility rules for certain battered noncitizens and their families who do not qualify under other noncitizen rules. See What are the special noncitizen eligibility rules for battered immigrants and their families?

Advocacy Reminder:

  • If a DTA staff person thinks that your child has been abused or neglected, DTA may file a report with the Department of Children and Families. Contact your local legal services program, Appendix D: Massachusetts Legal Services Offices, if you are worried DTA will file an abuse or neglect report.

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