The time limit was suspended during the pandemic. The rules below are the rules before the pandemic.
You can ask for an extension of your benefits. In deciding whether you get an extension, DTA says that it looks at
- what you are doing to find a full-time job,
- whether you have complied with work requirements and DTA work activities,
- whether you have been sanctioned for not complying with DTA rules,
- whether there are jobs in your area that you could do,
- whether suitable child care is available. See 106 C.M.R. § 703.130(A); DTA Operations Memo 2013-38 (July 26, 2013).
You can also get an extension if
- you are working at least 35 hours a week and you are still financially and otherwise eligible.
- you are in a DTA-approved education or training program and need additional time to complete the program. 106 C.M.R. § 703.130(A).
- You may use informal (unlicensed) child care if you wish, but you have a strong case for an extension if licensed care is not available and you do not want to use informal care.
- DTA must give you an opportunity to participate in a work activity. You should not be denied an extension if DTA did not refer you to work activities. DTA Transitions, Dec. 2013, p. 3.
- DTA limits extensions to three months (or less) but you can ask for as many extensions as you need. 106 C.M.R. § 703.130(B)(3); DTA Operations Memo 2013-38 (July 26, 2013). See How long will your extension last?
- DTA says that it can also look at whether you made a good faith effort to meet your economic independence goals. 106 C.M.R. § 703.130(A)(1)(f). This may not be legal. Contact your local legal services program, Appendix D: Massachusetts Legal Services Offices, if you are denied for this reason.