TAFDC benefits time limit

Generally, Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits are available on a temporary basis.

The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offers TAFDC benefits to help families meet basic needs via economic assistance (cash benefits) and support services in an attempt to make your hard times brief and onetime. There is a time period after which most people cannot keep getting benefits. Find out if your benefits are time limited and how to ask for more time, if you need it, after your time limit expires. 

The time limit

TAFDC rules set a time limit. You can get benefits for a total of 24­ months in a 5-year period. Each full calendar month you get benefits adds 1 month to your 24 month “clock.” If you leave and then come back on TAFDC, the clock picks up where it left off. It does not reset within the 5-year period.

We will send you a letter updating you on your clock count when you use your 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th and 22nd month of TAFDC benefits.

If at any time you disagree with the number of months we counted, you can ask for an adjustment

If you use up your 24 months, you cannot get TAFDC just for your other family members. Their benefits will stop too. You may be able to get TAFDC again when your 5-year period ends or if you ask for an extension.

Additional Resources for The time limit

What stops your clock?

Sometimes, a month in which you get TAFDC does not count toward your 24 month limit. Your monthly clock usually does not run if at any time during that month you are:

  • Disabled (with medical proof)
  • Caring for a disabled child, spouse, or co-parent, who you live with
  • In your 33rd week or later of pregnancy
  • Caring for a child who is under age 2 
  • A teen parent
  • Not getting benefits for yourself and are not the parent of the child(ren) you get benefits for
  • 60 years or older
  • Not getting TAFDC, or getting less than $10 in TAFDC for the month

Effect on your other benefits

The TAFDC 24-month time limit does NOT apply to your: 

  • Child care
  • MassHealth (health insurance)
  • SNAP (formerly food stamps) benefits
  • Benefits that you got from another state

Asking for more time

You may be able to get more TAFDC benefits after your 24 month time limit expires if you ask for an extension. Once you have used 22 months of benefits, your case manager will make an appointment with you so he or she can ask you if you need an extension. If you do, he or she will help you fill out the forms. If you request an extension, you will continue to get TAFDC benefits until a decision is made.

When making a decision about an extension, DTA looks at whether you:

  • Took part in work-related activities
  • Turned down job offers, cut your hours, or quit a job without a good reason
  • Got fired for a good reason
  • Followed DTA’s rules
  • Have good jobs and child care in your area

If approved, your extension will likely be for no more than 2 or 3 months. There is no limit to the number of extensions you can ask for. You can always ask for an extension if you can’t get TAFDC because of the time limit. 

Additional Resources for Asking for more time

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