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What happens if you are excluded from the assistance unit?

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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

Effect on grant. If you are excluded from the assistance unit you lose your portion of the grant (usually about $100). If you are sanctioned for not cooperating with child support, you lose your portion of the grant or 25% of the maximum grant for your family size, whichever is more.

Effect on education, training, child care and transportation. If you are excluded from the assistance unit because you are not a citizen, but you have work authorization or are an otherwise lawfully present immigrant, you are eligible for education, training, child care and transportation on the same basis as other TAFDC recipients. See DTA Field Operations Memo 2002-18A (Oct. 10, 2002).

If you are excluded from the assistance unit for some other reason – for example, because you get SSI, you are under sanction, or you do not have work authorization – DTA may say you are not eligible to participate in a DTA-funded education or training program, can get child care only for work, for school (if you are a teen parent), or for another work, education or training activity that DTA mandates, and can get transportation assistance only for an education, training or job search activity that DTA requires.

Contact your local legal services program, Appendix D: Massachusetts Legal Services Offices, if you are denied services because you are excluded from the assistance unit.

Effect on how income is counted. DTA may try to count gross earnings of someone excluded from the assistance unit against the reduced grant (without any deductions for work expenses, child care, or earned income disregards). You may be able to argue that you should have 20 days to report. Email [email protected] if DTA tries to deny you earnings deductions because you are excluded from the assistance unit.

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