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What if you just moved to Massachusetts? What if you are homeless?


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

You have to live in Massachusetts to get TAFDC, but

  • You do not have to have a permanent or fixed address – you can be homeless. You need to show you live in the area covered by the office where you applied. DTA must accept an oral or written statement from someone who knows about your situation, or your own statement.
  • Even if you just arrived in Massachusetts, you can qualify – unless you are currently receiving public assistance in another state – if you intend to live here or you came for a job or to look for work.
  • Certain temporary absences from the state are allowed. DTA may require you to justify the reason you are not in Massachusetts and may require you to re-prove you are a Massachusetts resident. 106 C.M.R. §§ 703.340-360; DTA Online Guide (Address, Residence, Temporary Absence).

Advocacy Reminders

  • DTA may try to deny you if you came to Massachusetts so you or your child can go to school here or you came for medical care. 106 C.M.R. § 703.340(A). But you should qualify if you intend to live here even if you came to go to school or for medical care. You can show you intend to live here by registering to vote or by making plans to stay after graduation. Special rules for people who came to Massachusetts from another state may also violate the State Plan Massachusetts filed with the federal government. Contact [email protected] if DTA denies you because you moved to Massachusetts recently.
  • DTA may try to close your case if you use your EBT card outside Massachusetts for 75 days. DTA Operations Memo 2013-34 (July 26, 2013). You may have to prove you are a Massachusetts resident to keep your benefits. SeeDTA Transitions, Sept. 2013, p.5-6 . Contact [email protected] if DTA asks you to re-prove your residency after you used your benefits in another state..

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