You are financially eligible only if your TAFDC household has countable assets of $5,000 or less. 106 C.M.R. § 704.110.
The following items do not count as assets
- the home you live in,
- one vehicle used for transportation,
- household and personal belongings,
- an asset that you do not have ready access to (such as assets tied up in legal proceedings), unless you transferred the asset during the 12 months before you applied for TAFDC (see How does DTA treat assets you no longer have?).
- any assets of an SSI recipient, including accounts you have access to that are restricted or dedicated for the use of the SSI recipient (see DTA Transitions, July 2002, p. 2),
- federal and state earned income credits in the month of receipt and the following month,
- college savings in a plan under or consistent with section 529 of the federal Internal Revenue Code (see St. 2016, c. 133, §123 (July 1, 2016)), and
- assets used to produce income, such as a vehicle used for self-employment, (maybe in addition to the primary vehicle).
The following items do count as assets
- cash on hand (unless listed as noncountable),
- bank accounts that you have access to,
- the equity value of all other vehicles owned by a family member, in addition to the primary vehicle as well as recreational vehicles,
- the cash surrender value of life insurance and burial insurance,
- state and federal income tax refunds other than earned income credits, see DTA Transitions, June 2013, p. 6,
- real estate other than your home unless it qualifies for a six-month exclusion and you are trying to sell it. See OLGT 2019-72 (Oct. 3, 2019) (vehicles); DTA Operations Memo 2013-52 (real estate); (Oct. 3, 2013 106 C.M.R. §§ 704.120-704.140; DTA Online Guide (Countable Assets).
- DTA has the authority to grant a waiver to allow a second vehicle where the second vehicle is needed for a family member to get to work, education or training, or medical care; is needed for a domestic violence survivor’s safety plan; is needed to transport a disabled family member; or is needed for other good reasons.For information about asking for a disability accommodation, See What if a disability makes it hard for you to meet DTA rules or use DTA services? For information about domestic violence waivers, see What if you are a domestic violence survivor? and Can you get a waiver or good cause exception to welfare rules because of domestic violence?
- If your vehicle puts you over the asset limit and you need it to transport a disabled family member, you can also ask DTA to modify the car rule under the Americans with Disabilities Act. See A disability makes it hard to meet DTA rules or use DTA services. If you need the car for a domestic violence survivor’s safety plan, you can ask for a domestic violence waiver. See Getting a domestic violence waiver and Getting a waiver of welfare rules because of domestic violence.
- An asset may be noncountable if you do not have access to it because of domestic violence. For example, if your abuser has your car, it may be noncountable, even if it is not your primary vehicle. DTA Transitions, Nov. 2009, p5, Apr. 2001, p. 8.
- If your bank account goes over $5,000, DTA may take steps to close your case without checking to see if any of the money in your bank account is not countable. See DTA Operations Memo 2014-57 (Oct. 10, 2014). Consult an advocate if that is a problem for you.
- A leased vehicle is not counted. DTA Transitions, Nov. 2009, p.5
- Prepaid funeral arrangements usually cannot be converted into cash and are usually noncountable. DTA Transitions, Feb. 2013, p7.