Public Benefits

New York has several public benefit programs, funded either by the federal government or by the State, including Cash Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), NYS Disability Insurance, and various medical coverage programs. A federal program called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) grants money to New York State to administer several of these programs.

There are two types of Cash Assistance programs in New York State: Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance. The Family Assistance program helps needy families with minor children in the household by providing a monthly cash benefit for food, shelter, utilities and other living expenses. Safety Net Assistance helps needy persons who do not qualify for Family Assistance by providing a monthly cash benefit for food, shelter, utilities and other living expenses. Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance cash benefits are provided through an electronic benefit transfer posted to a benefit card. Rent payments may be sent by check to landlords.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called the Food Stamp program, provides a cash benefit through an electronic benefit transfer that can be used to purchase only food at many retail locations. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) program provides a cash benefit or a direct payment to a vendor to help households with limited income pay for their energy costs, such as heat and air conditioning. The NYS Disability Insurance Program provides a temporary weekly cash benefit to workers who suffer a non-work related injury or illness, or who have lost their unemployment benefits. New York State also offers medical coverage and health insurance programs, including Medicaid and Child Health Plus, among others.

If you are ill or disabled, you can request a reasonable accommodation in the benefit application process or to help you comply with public benefit program requirements. You can ask that a worker visit you in your home if you are too disabled to visit an Human Resources Administration (HRA) Job Center to apply for benefits. Call the Office of Constituent Services at 212-331-4640 or request help or a reasonable accommodation by writing to:

New York City Human Resources Administration
Family Independence Administration
Office of Constituent Services
150 Greenwich Street, 38th Floor
New York, NY 10007

Legal Editor: Lisa Pearlstein, City Bar Justice Center

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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