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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 and Betsy Gwin, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed December 2022

During the pandemic, DTA limited the written proofs you have to provide. As of December 2022, some of these requirements are in effect and some are not. Check DTA Online Guide (Temporary COVID-19 Verification Procedures) to see which requirements remain suspended. In some cases, you may be able to make an oral statement to satisfy a verification requirement.

A DTA intake worker will interview you and is supposed to help you with your application. In most cases, the interview will be by telephone.  You can request that the interview be held by Zoom. DTA Online Guide (Connecting Clients to Virtual Meetings). You can insist on an in-person interview if that is better for you.

Your worker will give you a list of what you need to prove. 106 C.M.R. §§ 702.120, 702.125. You may have to do job search and provide proof of job search to get approved for benefits. See Do you have to meet job search requirements before you can get benefits?

If you do not have everything, give what you have. In many cases, you can sign a sworn statement to prove something. You can also sign a form letting your worker contact someone else to get the proof. 106 C.M.R. § 702.340; DTA Online Guide (Methods of Verifications – TAFDC).

Some information is available to DTA in a database that DTA can access. If DTA can get the information from a database, it should not require you to provide the proof. DTA Operations Memo 2013-47 (Sept. 5, 2013). For example, DTA can get wage information for some jobs through a service called “The Work Number.” DTA Online Guide (The Work Number); DTA Operations Memo 2013-33 (July 19, 2013). If the Work Number information is not correct, you can ask DTA to contact your employer.

Things you might be asked to give DTA are

  • proof of who you are (for example, your driver’s license, birth certificate, voter registration verification),
  • social security numbers for everyone in your family (except for ineligible noncitizens) or proof that you have applied for their social security numbers,
  • proof that your children are related to you and how old they are (for example, birth certificates, school records, a statement from someone who knows you and them),
  • proof of your immigration status if you are not a citizen and you are requesting benefits (see What if you are not a citizen?),
  • proof of who lives in your household,
  • proof of your income (for example, pay stubs or a government benefit award letter),
  • proof you applied for unemployment compensation (you can apply on-line and DTA can confirm you applied by checking the unemployment computer system),
  • proof you applied for Paid Family and Medical Leave if you stopped working because of your own health condition, to care for a relative, or because of the birth, foster care placement or adoption of a child,
  • proof of where you live (for example, a landlord’s statement or utility records) unless you are homeless (see What if you just moved to Massachusetts?, What if you are homeless or temporarily in another state?, and
  • proof you have housing expenses – to qualify for the rent or mortgage allowance (a statement from you or another person or a lease, rent receipt, mortgage or statement from a landlord).

There are many other proofs that DTA can ask for in a particular case. Do the best you can to get them, but if you cannot get them, ask for help from the worker and ask if you can verify the information by signing a statement. Your worker is supposed to help you get required proof when your worker has been told or is otherwise aware that you need help. See 106 C.M.R. § 702.310(B); DTA Operations Memos 2013-47 (Sept. 5, 2013); 2010-55 (Nov. 23, 2010).

If you need more time to get proofs, you can get an extension. If you have trouble, contact your local legal services program, Appendix D: Massachusetts Legal Services Offices, for help.

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