Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA)

Information about DTA programs and how to apply.

The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offers programs for individuals and families to help them meet their basic needs.  DTA offers cash-assistance programs, food and nutrition programs, and programs to help individuals train and apply for jobs.  DTA also offers other kinds of support for those participating in their programs, including child care, transportation, and referrals to other services. 

DTA has three programs that provide help to children and families: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC).

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

What is SNAP?

SNAP is a program that helps families with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities pay for the cost of food.  SNAP benefits can be used to pay for foods such as breads, cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and dairy products.  People who participate in SNAP receive an Electronic Benefits Card (EBT) that they can use like a debit card to pay for food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and farmers’ markets.  Participants can also use their EBT card to buy seeds and plants to grow their own food, such as tomato plants.  SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay for alcohol, tobacco products, or anything considered a “nonfood item,” such as soap, cleaning supplies, and medicines.

SNAP participants between the ages of 16-59 are also automatically enrolled in the SNAP Path to Work program, which helps SNAP participants learn the skills they need to find jobs that pay well.  SNAP Path to Work provides education programs and skills training for jobs in fields like construction, banking, and nursing. 

Who can apply for SNAP?

Eligibility for SNAP is based on many different factors, including a family’s income, expenses, the number of people who live in the home, the age of the family members, and other family characteristics.  The DTA has an online screening tool that families can use to see if they may be eligible for SNAP.  Families can also call the DTA at 1-877-382-2363, or Project Bread at 1-800-645-8333. 

How do I apply?

Families can apply for SNAP in three different ways:

  • Online:  Families that are applying for SNAP for the first time can use the online application form.  The online form is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
  • In-person: Families can visit their local Transitional Assistance Office, which they can find here.
  • Mail: Fill out a paper application and mail it to the following address:

DTA Document Processing Center

PO Box 4406

Taunton, MA 02780-0420

Paper applications are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Khmer, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Russian, Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Arabic.

What happens after I submit my application?

After the application is submitted, the DTA will contact the family to schedule an interview to better understand the family’s needs.  After the interview, the DTA will tell the family what documents they will need to give to the DTA, such as:

  • Proof of identity, such as a driver’s license or birth certificate
  • Proof that the applicant lives in Massachusetts, such as a lease or utility bill
  • Earned income if the family has any, such as a pay stub
  • Other kinds of income the family receives, such as Social Security, child support, or workman’s compensation
  • Rental income, if the family rents property to others
  • Child support payments, if anyone in the family pays child support to someone outside of their home.

Families may also include other information that could increase the amount of their SNAP benefits, such as proof of their housing costs, utility expenses (including cell phones), child care or adult care expenses, or medical expenses for those with disabilities.   The DTA can take up to 30 days to make a decision about a family’s eligibility, but may provide SNAP benefits within seven days in certain emergency cases. 

For more information about SNAP or for help applying, call the DTA at 1-877-382-2363 or Project Bread at 1-800-645-8333. 

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)

What is TAFDC?

TAFDC provides cash assistance to families who have at least one dependent child under the age of 18 or 19. TAFDC is also open to pregnant women who are in the last 120 days of their pregnancy with their first child.  In addition to providing cash assistance, TAFDC participants can also receive help with child care, transportation, and referrals for other social services, like mental health or substance abuse programs.

In most cases, adult TAFDC recipients must participant in work-related programs to receive TAFDC benefits.  DTA provides many work-related programs, such as job skills training, help with job searches, and job placements for TAFDC recipients.  There are also educational opportunities such as GED and adult literacy programs. 

Who can apply for TAFDC?

Women and families must live in Massachusetts and meet certain income and asset requirements to be eligible for TAFDC. The program is open to US citizens and legal immigrants.  If a family is eligible, there is a limit on how long they can receive TAFDC benefits.  Families can receive TAFDC benefits for 24 months in a 60-month period, or up to two years in a five-year timeframe. 

How do I apply for TAFDC?

For more information or to apply for TAFDC, families should contact their local DTA office to set up an appointment or call the DTA at 1-877-382-2363. 

Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC)

What is EAEDC?

EAEDC is a program that primarily provides emergency cash assistance to older adults, people living with disabilities, and those who are caring for someone with a serious disability in their home.  However, EAEDC also provides cash assistance to individuals who are caring for a child in their home who is not related to them.  Applicants must meet certain income and asset requirements, and both US citizens and legal immigrants can apply.  Individuals caring for unrelated children must get legal guardianship or custody of the child within six months of received EAEDC.

How do I apply for EAEDC?

To apply or for more information, families can contact their local DTA office to set up an appointment or call the DTA at 1-877-382-2363.

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