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Can you get TAFDC if neither parent is in the home?

Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2017

To get TAFDC, the child has to be living with a relative. Besides a natural or adoptive parent, the relative can be

  • any other blood or adoptive relative related as closely as first cousins (including aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters, brothers),
  • a stepmother, stepfather, stepbrother or stepsister, step-grandparent, or
  • a spouse (or former spouse) of one of the blood or adoptive relatives listed above. 106 C.M.R. § 203.585. See also DTA Online Guide (Relationship); DTA Transitions, July 2016, p.4, April 2004, p. 2.

Advocacy Reminders

  • A non-parent relative does not have to have legal custody or guardianship in order to get TAFDC for a child, see Families with children getting TAFDC, unless the child has previously lost TAFDC because of the time limit in another family, see Who is the "child of record?", or would otherwise be ineligible because of the family cap. See What is the family cap?
  • You can verify that you are a relative with a birth certificate or you can use other documents such as school records. You can also use a signed statement from a knowledgeable person. 106 C.M.R. § 203.585; DTA Transitions, July 2016, p. 4.
  • The non-parent relative has the choice of being included in the TAFDC grant or just getting benefits for the children. See Who has a choice to be in the assistance unit?
  • A child who is living with someone who is not a relative may be eligible for Emergency Aid to Elders, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) benefits or foster care benefits.
  • If a non-parent relative shares care with a parent and they cannot agree on who will get the benefits, DTA will decide based on the amount of time each caregiver spends with the child and the person’s responsibilities. See 106 C.M.R. § 203.595; DTA Transitions, July 2016, p. 4.

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