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When do you have to start a Work Program activity?


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 60 days to look for and start a work program activity once you begin receiving TAFDC, start a new five-year eligibility period (see What is the time limit rule and when does your time limit start over?), or DTA decides you are subject to the Work Program.
106 C.M.R. § 703.150(A)(1), (2), (4); DTA Operations Memo 2011-53 (Nov. 22, 2011); DTA Online Guide (Work Program Requirements Overview).

If your activity stops or no longer qualifies as “work,” you have 20 days to begin another activity.

If you cannot meet DTA’s deadline for starting a work program activity, you may have good cause to start later. See What if you have a good reason for not meeting Work Program rules? For example, you may need more time to arrange child care or a community service site may not be ready for you.

If you reapply for TAFDC, you have used your 60-day work search period already, and you do not qualify for an exemption or have good cause for not participating in a work activity, you have 10 days to look for and start an activity (unless your case was closed because you did not meet the work activity requirements). See DTA Online Guide (Work Program Requirements Overview); see What if you have a good reason for not meeting Work Program rules? for more information on good cause.

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