Apply for TAFDC

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) is an economic assistance (cash benefit) program that helps pregnant individuals, families and caregivers explore opportunities, improve their finances, and reach their goals.
If you apply for TAFDC, DTA will approve or deny your application within 30 days.

DTA Assistance Line


Get case information and make certain updates to your case 24/7 via the automated prompts. Talk to a case manager between 8:15am-4:45pm, M-F.

The Details   of Apply for TAFDC

TAFDC Overview   for Apply for TAFDC

TAFDC is administered through the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).

Video in American Sign Language (ASL)
Overview of TAFDC Video in American Sign Language (ASL)

When you receive TAFDC you may be eligible for:

  • Two cash payments per month to meet your basic needs,
  • Enrollment into MassHealth coverage,
  • Referral to free employment and training programs,
  • Referral for free child care while you work on your education and employment goals,
  • Money for transportation to get to school, training, work, or to look for a job,
  • One-time payment of $300 for infants under 6 months, and
  • Clothing allowance: one-time payment of $450 for each eligible children in early Fall.

Eligibility   for Apply for TAFDC

You may be eligible if you:

  • Have children 18 or younger,  
  • Are pregnant and are due in less than 4 months; if you are under age 20 you may be eligible at any stage of pregnancy, and/or
  • Are a caregiver for a child you are related to but who is not your biological or adopted child 
    • As a caregiver, you can apply for TAFDC for yourself and the child(ren) or only the child(ren) in your care. If you apply only for the child(ren) DTA will not look at your income when you apply, even though the application is in your name. If the child in your case has income, that may affect eligibility.


  • You live in Massachusetts,
  • You or someone in your family are a U.S. citizen or an eligible immigrant, and
  • Your income is below the TAFDC limits.

Is my income below the TAFDC limits?

Income limits: Your family's gross income must be under the income limit. (Gross income is the amount before things like taxes are taken out.) 

  • The income limit is based on your family size and the type of housing you live in.
  • There are different rules if you are a teen parent under age 18 living with your parent(s).

How do I know if my family’s income is below the TAFDC limit?

  1. Add up all income before taxes or other deductions. Do not count income of a foster child or someone who gets SSI.
  2. If you are working, subtract $200 from your monthly gross earnings. Then, if you got TAFDC in the last 4 months, subtract half of the rest of your gross earnings. These are deductions.
  3. If you pay for child care, tell DTA during your application interview. We may be able to subtract more of your earnings.
  4. Look at the chart below. Find the TAFDC amount for your family size and housing type. Do not include foster children or family members who get SSI in your family size. To get TAFDC, your monthly income – after deductions – must be less than that amount.

IMPORTANT: If you are not sure if your family can get TAFDC benefits, apply. DTA will interview you and decide if you are eligible under the TAFDC rules.

TAFDC Eligibility Chart
Family Size Public or subsidized housing Private housing
1 $513 $553
2 $648 $688
3 $783 $823
4 $912 $952
5 $1,045 $1,085
6 $1,183 $1,223
7 $1,316 $1,356
8 $1,448 $1,488
Each additional household member +$139 +139


What are the rules if I am a teen parent under age 18 and I live with my parent(s)?

If you are a teen parent and you live with your parent(s), their monthly gross income must be less than the amounts below.

Family size Income
1 $2,510
2 $3,407
3 $4,303
4 $5,200
5 $6,097
6 $6,993
7 $7,890
8 $8,787
Each additional household member +$897

What are the Child Support rules for TAFDC?

Every child who gets TAFDC must have a child support case unless they live with both parents. But, you may not have to apply for child support for a child if you have experienced domestic violence or have safety concerns.  Tell us if you are worried about this.  Find out more here.  

If you do not already have a child support order, DTA will connect you to the Department of Revenue (DOR). DOR can help you establish paternity and get a child support order.

The state of Massachusetts must keep any child support paid for children who get TAFDC. If a child’s parent (who does not live with the child) pays child support while you get TAFDC, you will get the first $50 each month. This is in addition to TAFDC.

When I apply, can DTA help connect me to employment and training services?

DTA will connect all applicants over 18 who can work to JobQuest - the online system connecting people to the MassHire Career Center network. Some applicants must register as part of their TAFDC application.

You can register now for access to free tools and resources to support your career pathway. DTA can also help you register after you apply. Learn more and register here.

What if I need a disability accommodation?

If you have a disability or health problem that makes it hard for you to do something DTA asks, you can ask for help. This is called an accommodation. If you need assistance, you can contact your case manager or call the DTA Assistance line to be connected to a Client Assistance Coordinator.

What if I have safety concerns or other issues because of domestic violence?

If you are dealing with the impacts of domestic violence, DTA can help. The Domestic Violence (DV) Unit can help address safety concerns and other impacts of domestic violence. Find your local DV specialist. If it is an emergency or after hours, call SAFELINK at (877) 785‐2020.

How to apply   Apply for TAFDC

Online at

Over the phone with your local office.

At a local DTA office (self-service options only) or community kiosk.

Next steps   for Apply for TAFDC

Next steps

What happens after I apply for TAFDC benefits?

1. We will schedule a phone interview. DTA will provide an interpreter if you need one.

2. After the interview, we will ask you to verify some of the information you told us, like your income. You can send us the verifications in many ways; including on the DTA Connect app and website.

IMPORTANT: If you need help getting or submitting documents, contact your case manager.  If you need help due to disability, you can also call the DTA Assistance Line to connect with a Client Assistance Coordinator.

3. We will give you an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card if you do not already have one. You may get the card in the mail before you are approved. If you have a bank account, you can set up Direct Deposit and your TAFDC benefits will go into your bank account.

4. We will approve or deny your application within 30 days.  We will mail you a notice with the decision. You can also check DTA Connect for your case status and to see notices.

If we approve your application, we will tell you your benefit amount and when you will get your benefits. If we deny your application, we will tell you why. You can appeal the decision.

5. Once approved for TAFDC, you will receive a MassHealth card for each eligible family member. If you need health services before your card arrives, call your case manager and ask for your temporary MassHealth ID number. Contact MassHealth for questions on your MassHealth coverage.

6. After approval for TAFDC, you have access to benefits including DTA’s Pathways to Work programs and child care and transportation benefits.

DTA’s free education, training and employment programs can help you address things that make it hard for you to work and prepare for a job. Under the TAFDC work rules, some parents must participate in an activity or work to get TAFDC. 

DTA will give you a referral for a free child care and extra cash to help pay for transportation so that you can participate in these programs.

More Info   for Apply for TAFDC

Contact   for Apply for TAFDC


Get case information and make certain updates to your case 24/7 via the automated prompts. Talk to a case manager between 8:15am-4:45pm, M-F.

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