36. Who is exempt from the time limit and Work Program?

You are exempt from the time limit and Work Program if

  • you are a disabled parent or a disabled relative caring for a child (see Question 37),
  • you are needed to care for a disabled family member (see Questions 39 and 40),
  • you are a parent or other relative caring for a child under age two,
  • you are a teen parent under age 20 and you are attending either a fulltime high school or a full-time HiSET, training or work program that totals at least 20 hours a week,
  • you are a pregnant individual in your third trimester (week 27 or last 120 days) of pregnancy (see Question 41),
  • you are not the parent of the child you are caring for and you are not receiving TAFDC for yourself (see Question 29), or
  • you are age 60 or older (see Question 42). 106 C.M.R. § 703.120.

If you are ineligible for benefits for yourself and cannot work for pay because of your immigration status, you are not subject to the time limit but you can be required to do a work activity other than paid work or job search. 106 C.M.R. § 703.150(A)(3). See Question 52.

In a two-parent family, only one parent can claim an exemption based on the need to care for a child under age two or a disabled family member. Also, if one parent claims an exemption based on disability or pregnancy, the other parent cannot claim an exemption based on need to care for a young child unless the disabled or pregnant parent is unable to care for the child for medical reasons. 106 C.M.R. § 703.100(A)(2); Appendix E (DTA Online Guide)

Advocacy Reminders

  • If you qualified for any one of these exemptions for even part of the month, the whole month does not count towards your 24-month time limit.
  • You can ask for an exemption at any time - even if you reached your time limit and lost benefits. Review the exemptions to see if you might qualify for one.