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How much income can you have and still get TAFDC?

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

DTA has one set of rules for counting income for applicants to determine if they qualify for TAFDC and a different set of rules to calculate the amount of the benefit. How much income can you have and still qualify for TAFDC? deals with applicant eligibility, sometimes called getting in the front door. What is the 6-month 100% earned income disregard? and How much will you get each month? deal with how DTA calculates benefits once you get in the front door.

Step One. Subtract allowable deductions from gross earned income –

Start with your monthly gross earned income and deduct in the following order

  • $200 for work expenses. This is a flat amount regardless of how much your work expenses really are. 106 C.M.R. § 704.270
  • One-half of what is left after the $200 work expense deduction if you were a recipient within the four months before you apply. 106 C.M.R. § 704.280. DTA calls this the 50% disregard.
  • Dependent care costs. Deduct actual dependent care costs (including costs of transportation to and from child care) up to DTA’s maximum dependent based on the age of the dependent and the number of hours you work. 106 C.M.R. § 704.275. Determine the maximum deduction you can take for each dependent using DTA’s table. DTA Online Guide (Dependent Care Deduction).

Maximum Dependent Care Deductions

Hours of Work

Age of Dependent

Weekly

Monthly

2 or over

Under 2

1-10

1-43

$44

$50

11-20

44-87

$88

$100

21-30

88-130

$132

$150

31+

131+

$175

$200

 

Step Two. Subtract allowable deductions from unearned income

You can deduct the first $50 a month in child support for children who are included in the grant. See What income is not counted?

Step Three. Figure your countable income

Add earned and unearned income after the deductions allowed above. Include deemed income. See Links below:

Step Four. Compare your total monthly countable income with the Need Standard for your family size

  • Use the Standard with the rent allowance if you live in private, unsubsidized housing.
  • Use the lower standard without the rent allowance if you do not pay rent, you live in a teen parent living program, or you live in public or subsidized housing and the rent of at least one of the occupants is based on a percentage of income. 106 C.M.R. § 705.910.
  • Be sure to use the higher Standard in September when the clothing allowance is paid.

If your total monthly countable income is less than the Need Standard for your family size, you got in the front door. Go to the next two questions to figure your monthly TAFDC grant.

TAFDC Monthly Need Standards

Assistance unit size

No rent allowance
(no rent, or public or subsidized housing)

With rent allowance (private, unsubsidized housing)

1

$ 466

$ 506

2

589

629

3

712

753

4

829

869

5

950

990

6

1,075

1,115

7

1,196

1,236

8

1,316

1,356

9

1,436

1,476

10

1,558

1,598

Increment

126

126

Important Note: The Need Standards go up in September by the amount of the clothing allowance for each eligible child ($350 in September 2021).

 

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