What if I have health problems that make it hard for me to work?
Many people who survive domestic violence have depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or other mental or physical effects of the abuse. These effects may last for a long time after the abuse ends.
If physical or mental effects of domestic violence make it too hard for you to work, you can ask to be excused from the time limit and work requirement. You can do this by telling your worker that you want to request a "disability exemption." Your worker will give you a form called a "Disability Supplement." You will need to write on the form why your health problems make it too hard to work right now.
It is best to write all of your physical and mental health problems on the form. It is also best to write all of your symptoms, including things like trouble sleeping, recent weight gain or loss, trouble concentrating, trouble getting up in the morning or going out, or feeling anxious or very stressed.
If you need help filling out the Disability Supplement, you have the right to get help. Your worker must help you. Also, some welfare offices have disability specialists who can help you. If you prefer, you can take the form home and ask someone else to help you. You can call your local legal services program for help.
If you get a disability exemption you can still care for your children and go to school or training. You can still work in the future. It just means that DTA can’t force you to work while you have the exemption.
What if I cannot work because I need to take care of a disabled child or family member?
Children often have health effects from domestic violence. Sometimes this is because they were hit or abused. Sometimes it is because they heard or saw one parent abusing the other.
If you can't hold a full-time job because your child has health problems and needs your care, you can ask for a caretaker exemption. Your worker will give you a form for your child's doctor to fill out.
You can also get a caretaker exemption if you need to care for another relative in your home, like a parent or sister or brother.
Learn more about
- TAFDC work requirement
- Exceptions to the work requirement
- Parents with Disabilities
- Parents Caring for a Disabled Family Member
- Getting extra help or exceptions from rules based on disability
on the Income and Benefits section of MassLegalHelp.org.