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What happens if your child's father (or mother) pays child support?

Alert

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, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed March 9 2022

When you get TAFDC, you have to assign your child support (and spousal support) rights to the state for any person who will be included in the grant. The Department of Revenue (DOR) then collects the support. 106 C.M.R. §§ 703.500-703.510. DTA should send you the first $50 a month in support that DOR collects. This is called a child support “pass through.”

The assignment of child support does not cover back support (arrearages) for the period before you began receiving TAFDC. DOR should send this money directly to you. DTA may then try to count this money as income for TAFDC and may try to apply the lump sum rule. See What is lump sum income and why is it a problem? Email [email protected] if you get a back child support payment from DOR and DTA tries to count it as income for TAFDC.

If the child support DOR collects for a month plus other countable income is more than your grant plus $50, DTA should send you the difference. If this happens for two months in a row, DTA should close your TAFDC case and you should get the child support instead (and the month should not count towards your 24 months if you are subject to the time limit). 106 C.M.R. § 704.230; DTA Online Guide (Acosta Payment). Even if the child support is less than your grant plus $50, you can close your case to keep your 24-month time limit clock from running or for any other reason. If you close your TAFDC case DOR must send the support money directly to you. There may be several weeks’ delay before DOR starts sending you the support.

Advocacy Reminders

  • You are entitled to the $50 a month child support pass through for children who are on the grant.
  • Support paid for a child receiving SSI does not count against the TAFDC grant but some of it does count against the SSI benefit. 106 C.M.R. § 704.250(A)(1). See also DTA Transitions, Mar. 2002, p. 7.
  • Massachusetts pays most of the support collected for children receiving TAFDC to the state treasury or the federal government. Federal law gives the state the option to pay the money to the children instead.

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