49. What activities count towards the Work Program requirement?

Activities that count towards the Work Program requirement include

  • DTA’s 60-day “Pathways to Work” planning period to do register with JobQuest, set up supportive services like child care, and find and enroll in a program, Appendix E (DTA Online Guide Links),
  • a DTA-approved education or training activity, including
    • skills training,
    • adult basic education,
    • English-as-a-Second Language (ESL),
    • a HiSET program,
    • the Young Parents Program,
    • post-secondary education, including programs for an associate’s degree, four-year or bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree that are at least half-time and for which funding is available from non-DTA sources,
  • an “employment supports work activity” (supportive work site),
  • paid work, including college work study,
  • unpaid work (DTA calls this “community service”),
  • internships, including internships in the DTA Works Program that pay a stipend that does not count against your grant and other paid or unpaid internships,
  • baby-sitting for your grandchild so a teen daughter who lives with you can go to school,
  • home-schooling your children, see TAFDC Update No. 11 (Jan. 25, 1996),
  • participating in a substance abuse program while in a substance abuse shelter,
  • another program DTA expects will lead to a job,
  • job search, including online job search through JobQuest (register at https://jobquest.dcs.eol.mass.gov/JobQuest/Register/AccountSetup),
  • housing search if you are staying in an emergency shelter, a motel or a temporary housing arrangement provided through the Department of Housing and Community Development. 106 C.M.R. § 703.150(A)(2); DTA Transitions, July 2015, p. 5.

Education or training counts towards the work requirement for 24 months. DTA may allow education and training for more than 24 months if you are making substantial progress towards a degree or certificate. Although education and training can count towards the work requirement for 24 months, you can be cut off when you reach your time limit unless you are approved for an extension.

See Question 90 for a list of activities and programs offered by DTA through the Pathways to Work program

Advocacy Reminders

  • DTA does not count education or training towards the 24-month limit unless you attend for the full month. A partial month does not count. DTA Transitions, Sept. 2009, p. 6.
  • DTA will approve distance learning offered at publicly funded community colleges. DTA Operations Memo 2011-35 (July15, 2011). You may be able to get DTA to approve another distance learning program if there is a way to verify attendance. See DTA Transitions, Nov. 2008, p. 5; Massachusetts’ Work Verification Plan (Oct. 1, 2007). For help, check with your local legal services program, Appendix D.
  • If you are in a shelter and meeting your work requirement through housing search, you can volunteer for another activity and get child care and transportation benefits. Be sure DTA treats you as a volunteer for the other activity so DTA can’t sanction you if you run into a problem with the other activity.
  • DTA should treat you as meeting the Work Program requirement when you are meeting the preliminary requirements for the activity, such as visiting the site, attending an orientation, getting a medical exam, getting a criminal history report, or arranging child care.
  • Housing search does not count as work if you have a Home BASE rental subsidy. Appendix E (DTA Online Guide)