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What activities count as work?


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

Activities that count towards the Work Program requirement include

  • DTA “employment planning,” 12 weeks to do an assessment, get child care set up, and find and enroll in a program, DTA Online Guide (Employment Planning),
  • a DTA-approved education or training activity, including
  • skills training,
  • adult basic education,
  • English-as-a-Second Language (ESL),
  • a HiSET program,
  • the Young Parents Program,
  • post-secondary education, including programs for an associate’s degree, four-year or bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree that are at least half-time and for which funding is available from non-DTA sources, employment planning (up to 12 weeks) to set goals, arrange for child care, and choose a program,
  • an “employment supports work activity” (supportive work site),
  • paid work, including college work study,
  • unpaid work (DTA calls this “community service”),
  • internships, including internships in the DTA Works Program that pay a stipend that does not count against your grant and other paid or unpaid internships,
  • baby-sitting for your grandchild so a teen daughter who lives with you can go to school,
  • home-schooling your children, see TAFDC Update No. 11 (Jan. 25, 1996),
  • participating in a substance abuse program while in a substance abuse shelter,
  • another program DTA expects will lead to a job,
  • job search, including online job search through JobQuest (register at JobQuest Account Setup),
  • housing search if you are staying in an emergency shelter, a motel or a temporary housing arrangement provided through the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities. 106 C.M.R. § 703.150(A)(2); DTA Transitions, July 2015, p. 5.

Education or training counts towards the work requirement for 24 months. DTA may allow education and training for more than 24 months if you are making substantial progress towards a degree or certificate. Although education and training can count towards the work requirement for 24 months, you can be cut off when you reach your time limit unless you are approved for an extension.

See What are your Pathways to Work choices? for a list of DTA’s Pathways to Work activities. Most Pathways to Work activities count towards the Work Program requirement.

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