Last Updated December 2010
Last Updated December 2017
Apply for TAFDC at your local DTA office. 106 C.M.R. § 702.130. If you cannot go to the office because of a health problem or domestic violence, you can ask the local office to do a home visit or to do the appliation by phone and mail or fax. 106 C.M.R. § 701.600(Y).
Be sure to sign Request for Assistance the first time you go into the welfare office. You can do this even if there is no worker there to take your application. The date you sign is the earliest date your benefits will begin. You have a right to sign a Request for Assistance even if the worker thinks you are not eligible. 106 C.M.R. §§ 702.115, 702.150. If DTA doesn't give you a Request for Assistance form, write a request for TAFDC (and SNAP) on a piece of paper and sign the paper.
- DTA must provide a bilingual worker or assistant or a professional interpreter if you want one and you use American Sign Language or your primary language is not English, regardless of language, national origin or non-citizen status. There are no magic words you have to say to request an interpreter. A professional interpreter may be provided in-person or by telephone. 106 C.M.R. 701.360; DTA Operations Memos 2013-64 (Dec. 19, 2013), 2013-11 (Mar. 19, 2013 DTA Field Operations Memo 2008-16 (Apr. 1, 2008).
- You can use your own interpreter if you want, but this can be risky if the person is not a professional interpreter. You cannot use a child to interpret for you except to schedule an appointment. Children under age 12 cannot be asked to interpret for any purpose. 106 C.M.R. 701.360; DTA Operations Memo 2013-11 (Mar. 19, 2013 DTA Field Operations Memo 2008-16 (Apr. 1, 2008).
- You have the right to refuse a particular interpreter if you are uncomfortable with the interpreter for personal or other reasons. You don't have to give a reason. DTA must then provide a professional telephone interpreter. DTA Operations Memo 2013-11 (Mar. 19, 2013).
- If you have a vision, hearing or communication impairment, DTA should ask you what will help you communicate with DTA. See What if a disability makes it hard for you to meet DTA rules or use DTA services?; DTA Online Guide (Available Auxiliary Aids); DTA Operations Memo 2013-64 (Dec. 19, 2013). If DTA doesn’t give you the help you need, ask for the Client Assistance Coordinator. See How do you ask DTA for an accommodation?
- You have a right to a private space for discussions with DTA staff. DTA Operations Bulletin 2017-9.
- DTA sometimes issues a “No Trespass Order” barring certain people from the DTA office. See DTA Online Guide (No Trespass Indicator and Page). This may not be legal. If it is a problem for you, call the Ombuds Office, 617-348-5354, which should make sure that you can apply and get your benefits on time.
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