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What if you can’t find an appropriate Work 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

The Full Engagement Worker is supposed to meet with you to identify any problems you have meeting the work requirement, determine an appropriate activity for you, and determine what services you need such as child care or transportation. If you prefer to participate in community service rather than any other activity, DTA should refer you to a community service site.

If you have not verified that you are participating in an allowed work activity within 60 days of when you apply, DTA is supposed to refer you to an actually available community service site. If you can’t get to the community service site, the community service is not appropriate, or the community service site will not accept you, notify DTA immediately. If DTA thinks you have not participated and do not have good cause for not participating, you may be sanctioned and your benefits may be lowered or stopped. See What happens if you do not meet the Work Program rules?

DTA says it can require you to do community service during your child’s school hours. DTA says it can reassign you from one placement to another if it wants. 106 C.M.R. § 707.170(A)(2). Contact your local legal services program, Appendix D: Massachusetts Legal Services Offices, if you have located a good placement, and DTA is telling you to change.

Limit on number of hours you can count community service. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, you cannot participate in community service for more hours than your TAFDC grant plus SNAP (food stamp) benefits divided by the minimum wage ($14.25/hour effective January 1, 2022) divided by 4.333. 106 C.M.R. § 703.150(A)(2)(c); DTA Online Guide (Community Service and FLSA Community Service Choices).

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