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Can domestic violence survivors and others get extra confidentiality protections?

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Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2017

You can ask DTA for a Heightened Level of Security indicator because of domestic violence or any other reason. DTA Field Operations Memo 2010-50 (Nov. 1, 2010). This will flag your case so that

  • DTA will not discuss your case with you on the phone.
  • You will have to conduct all business by going in person to DTA.
  • You will not be able to talk to a Domestic Violence Specialist or Recipient Services by phone.
  • You will not be able to view your "My Account Page" through the Virtual Gateway.
  • DTA will be able to discuss your case with your lawyer or advocate only if you put the name of your lawyer or advocate on the form requesting the Heightened Level of Security.

Advocacy Reminders

  • These extra protections can sometimes be dangerous or very inconvenient because you have to go to the DTA office to conduct your business with DTA. Think carefully about your own situation before asking for the special protection.
  • You can cancel the special protection at any time by signing a form saying you no longer want it.
  • You can ask the Domestic Violence Specialist in the DTA office for different arrangements that will work better for you. For example, you can ask to have your case handled in a different office where you will be safer. You can ask for a password so that DTA will talk to you on the phone but will not talk to anyone who does not have the password. You can request that DTA use a number instead of your SSN. See Is a social security number necessary?
  • Domestic Violence Specialists are available to help domestic violence survivors request waivers from DTA rules, see Getting a waiver because of domestic violence, and help you make a safety plan. Massachusetts also has an Address Confidentiality Program to give you a substitute mailing address if you do not want to give DTA your real address. The program will retrieve your mail from the substitute address and forward it to your actual address. To qualify for the program you need to show that disclosure of your address would threaten you or your children’s safety and that the abuser does not know your address. See Address Confidentiality Program; DTA Online Guide (Address RFA)

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