109. When do you have to report changes?

DTA regulations say for TAFDC you have to report changes that could make you ineligible or decrease your benefits within 10 days. You do not have to report changes in earned income of less than $100 a month. 106 C.M.R. § 701.420.

DTA may send you at  notice telling you to provide proof of the change. You should have 20 days to respond to the notice. Appendix E (DTA Online Guide)

Report changes that will increase your benefits, such as a drop in income, at any time.

Because it is hard to know what changes may affect your eligibility, it is good to report other changes promptly, too. For example, you should report a change of address even if it will not affect your eligibility so that DTA notices will not be mailed to the wrong address.

Advocacy Reminders

  • Although the regulations and DTA notices say you have to report a change in 10 days, DTA policy says you have 20 days to report a change for TAFDC. Appendix E (DTA Online Guide) If everyone in your house hold also gets SNAP, you have 10 days to report for SNAP. So it is safer to report in 10 days if you can. Contact your local legal services office, Appendix D, if the reporting times are a problem for you.
  • What if you can’t reach your worker to report a change? If possible, send a picture with DTA Connect or fax or mail information about the change to the Document Processing Center and keep a copy. See Question 100 and 104. Also keep a record of any phone calls you make to report a change (or to try to report a change). You may need this record later to prove that you tried to report a change.
  • You can report a change of address or a new phone number to the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system or on DTA Connect. See Question 104.
  • DTA has agreed to simplify the rules for reporting changes. We are optimistic that the simplified rules will go into effect in 2017.
  • Be sure to report a change of address and tell the post office about the change. If DTA mail is returned to you without a forwarding address, DTA will send you a request for verification of address and will close your case if you do not respond within 10 days (30 days for applications). DTA Operations Memo 2013-13A (March 28, 2013).
  • If DTA has information that your address has changed, it should send notices to the new address whether or not you reported the change. Appendix E (DTA Online Guide); DTA Transitions, Feb. 2012, p. 3; DTA Field Operations Memo 2008-22 (Apr. 30, 2008).
  • If you move to an address covered by a different DTA office, your case should be transferred to the new office unless you are doubled up with a host family. If there is a problem, ask to speak with the Transfer Specialist in the new office. DTA Operations Memo 2012-39 (Aug. 27, 2012).
  • DTA may get a report that says you may have wages you didn't report. DTA may then send you a notice requiring you to verify your wages. If you don't respond to the notice, DTA will close your case. Be sure to tell DTA if you are having a problem getting the information DTA says it needs. Appendix E (DTA Online Guide). Email info@masslegalservices.org if DTA asks you to verify wages for a job you didn't work at or if you don't understand this notice.