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Massachusetts law about public benefits

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on Massachusetts public benefits law.

Table of Contents


FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
This program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.

Best bet

Income and Benefits, Mass. Legal Help, July 2018.
Information "about benefits that people can get from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Learn about: Welfare, SNAP/Food Stamps, state disability benefits, and emergency shelter; how these programs work; program rules; how to apply for these benefits; and special rules for seniors, teens, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and others."

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.18 Department of Transitional Assistance

Massachusetts regulations

106 CMR Department of Transitional Assistance

Selected case law

Garcia v. Dept. of Housing and Community Development, 480 Mass. 736 (2018)
Vacates a preliminary injunction that had directed the DHCD to use motels as emergency shelter for people with approved ADA accommodation requests whose request could be satisfied by a motel placement. 


Web sources

Applying for emergency assistance shelter: A guide for families, Mass. Law Reform Institute and Rosie's Place, October 2015. Also available in Spanish.
"Emergency Assistance is the shelter system for families in Massachusetts..." Pregnant women and families with children are eligible." There are several more requirements to be eligible. The guide explains these requirements and how to apply for shelter. For more detailed information, see Emergency Assistance Advocacy Guide, below.

Beyond financial aid: A guide to extra help for low-income adult students, Produced by Deborah Harris, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and Ruthie Liberman, Crittenton Women’s Union
Public programs can offer support, but sometimes the rules about who is eligible for public benefits, such as housing assistance, food stamps, or unemployment insurance, are different for students. This booklet will help you determine which public benefits may be available to you and your family while you go to school.

EAEDC: Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children, Mass. Legal Help
EAEDC is a cash benefit for disabled adults, caretakers, and some children who are not able to get TAFDC

Emergency assistance advocacy guide, Mass. Law Reform, 2018
Using a simple question-and-answer format, this Guide leads advocates and homeless families through the rules governing eligibility for Emergency Assistance--the program that provides emergency shelter and rehousing services to homeless families with children in Massachusetts

Enroll in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.  
You may quality for a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households. If your household is eligible, you can receive:

  • Up to a $50/month discount on your broadband service and associated equipment rentals
  • Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)

Food stamps/SNAP advocacy guide, Mass. Law Reform, 2018
Online version of the print title. Covers eligibility, benefits, applications and more, Mass. 2-1-1 service.
"HelpSteps connects individuals to local health and human resources... The assessment and referral tools are available at no cost to anyone with access to the internet or a smart phone."

A flexible financial household assistance resource that is available to families who are eligible for the state’s Emergency Assistance (EA) Program. Up to $4,000 of Household Assistance can be used to help you and your family find your own apartment, co-house by living with someone else and sharing household costs, pay for moving expenses to another state or location in-state and for other costs, such as child care to help with securing or maintaining employment or job training.

Nolo's guide to Social Security disability, Nolo, 2020
"This book is about Social Security disability benefits, which are provided through a U.S. government system run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These disability programs provide cash support for individuals with mental or physical disorders (and their dependents, in some cases) who cannot work because of the severity of their condition." Requires free law library card for access.

Program Operations Manual System (POMS), Social Security Administration
The primary source of information used by the Social Security Administration to process claims for Social Security benefits

Programs that help with money, Mass. Legal Help, 2019
Written for domestic violence survivors, this is a helpful guide to programs that provide financial assistance, with forms and explanations of the application process.

TAFDC advocacy guide, Mass. Law Reform, 2017
Online version of the print title. Covers eligibility, benefits, applications and more



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: July 8, 2021