What should you bring with you?

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

During the pandemic, DTA limited the written proofs you have to provide. You may be able to make an oral statement that shows you are eligible. DTA Online Guide (Temporary COVID-19 Verification Procedures). For example, you may be able to make an oral statement that your job ended.

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. If that is a problem for you, you should insist on an in-person interview.

The rest of this section discusses DTA’s policies about proofs before the pandemic. DTA may reinstate some of these rules after the pandemic.

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?
  • 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.

Advocacy Reminders

  • If DTA schedules your appointment for a time that is bad for you, you can reschedule.
  • DTA may ask you to provide proof of citizenship for all citizen members of your household. Proof of citizenship is not required for TAFDC unless it is questionable, but may be required for MassHealth so you should provide it to DTA if you can. Your TAFDC application should not be delayed or denied pending DTA’s receipt of proof of citizenship. DTA Field Operations Memo 2007-10 (Feb. 20, 2007).
  • Some information does not change and only needs to be verified once, unless there is reason to think that it was wrong originally or has changed. For example, you should not need to re-verify your date of birth or your relationship to your children if you verified this information before. DTA Operations Memo 2010-55 (Nov. 23, 2010).
  • A single document can sometimes prove more than one eligibility factor. For example, a rent receipt can prove where you live and that you have rent expenses. DTA Operations Memo 2012-8 (Feb. 6, 2012).
  • DTA will accept documents that are scanned, faxed or photocopied from the original unless the document appears questionable. DTA Operations Memo 2012-32 (July 11, 2012).
  • DTA should send you a list of any proofs you are missing. DTA should give you time to provide the proofs. Operations Memo 2012-17 (Apr. 25, 2012).

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

Help us improve MassLegalHelp!

Take a short survey to tell us what works and what is missing.

Your Local DTA Office

Ask a Law Librarian

If it's
Monday-Friday
between
9am and 4pm