35. What is the Work Program?

Most parents and other caretakers who are subject to the time limit are also subject to the Work Program. 

DTA calls its work program the “Pathways to Work Program.” It includes education, training, and employment programs.

When a family applies for TAFDC, DTA says that all household members over age 18 must register with MassHire JobQuest, a program that offers employment and training services in Massachusetts. You don’t have to register if you don’t have work authorization or are a non-liable relative caregiver.

DTA will also connect you with a Full Engagement Worker (FEW) who should talk with you about your goals, discuss supports, and talk about available work programs. To contact a FEW staff, you can email DTA.EmploymentServices@state.ma.us. Or look on DTA’s website: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/contact-dtasemployment-staff

See Questions 49-58 for more details on what activities count toward the Work Program.

Even if you are not exempt from the Work Program, you may have good cause not to participate. See Question 58.

Recent changes after the COVID-19 pandemic

DTA suspended the Work Program rules during the pandemic, beginning in March 2020. In December 2021, DTA reinstated the Work Program with some changes. In August 2023, DTA began sending out notices to families about the Pathways to Work program and its requirements.