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Benefits

General Overview of Benefits

 

Help with necessities like housing, food, medical care, and money are examples of public benefits. Benefits can come from the national, state, or municipal levels of government. Income is frequently a determining factor in eligibility. Call 311 to get information on New York City benefits and the application process. For those living outside of New York City, please call 211.

 

Benefits for New York City Families

 

Food

 

Cash Assistance

 

Housing and Transportation

 

Health Care

 

Credits with Taxes and Help with Housing Expenses
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Free Tax Preparation Services
  • Free phone line
  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
  • Homeowner Repair Loans
  • Home Water Assistance Program

 
Learn more at the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance by visiting their website at otda.ny.gov/programs.
 
Updated on February 27, 2024
 


Food Aid

 

The resources listed below provide information about food aid programs like SNAP and WIC, also known as food stamps. SNAP and WIC are federally run programs that provide nutritious food and cash assistance to supplement people’s food needs.

 

Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP is a program run by the government that gives you money every month to buy healthy food at grocery shops, Walmart, and Amazon. Based on the size and income of your family, you may or may not qualify to apply. After you apply to SNAP and get certified, you will receive cash loaded onto a card. The amount of money authorized will be determined by how much of your salary covers your food expenses.
 

  • US residents, citizens, asylees, and victims of severe forms of trafficking can apply. Parents who do not meet these conditions might apply on behalf of their children who fulfill such conditions.
  • To see if you qualify based on your income, use the SNAP eligibility calculator at hungersolutionsny.org/snap-benefits-estimator . All you need is information about your income (job payments, social Security, unemployment insurance, etc.) and family costs (rent, utilities, daycare, fees for special needs care, etc.)
  • If you qualify for SNAP, learn about the documents you need and steps to apply at hungersolutionsny.org/snap.
  • Once you submit your online application, please call 929-273-1872 anytime between 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday to complete an interview.
  • Upon certification, you will be mailed an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card that automatically loads with money each month. You can find more about the EBT card at nyc.gov/site/hra/help/ebt-card-services.page
  •  
    Obtain additional information at hungersolutionsny.org/find-food-help/snap.

 

Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

WIC is a government-run program that provides supplemental nutritious food for pregnant, breastfeeding people, and children under 5. Through WIC, you would receive a “food debit card” with a monthly food allowance that you can use at supermarkets or online retailers like Amazon or Walmart. Medicaid holders may qualify automatically, and income and child age determine eligibility.
 

  • Find out if you qualify at hungersolutionsny.org/find-food-help/wic.
  • Remember that requirements for US citizenship or residence do not apply.
  • Ask your doctor for a WIC form. This is a critical document for the WIC application.
  • Apply to WIC by calling a WIC office. Find an office near your home at signupwic.com or call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline anytime at 1-800-522-5006.
  • Attend your scheduled appointment at the WIC office and receive an eWIC card that loads with approved food every month. You might need to return to your WIC office on a frequent basis with your child’s medical records or lab results.
  • WIC can also supplement your child’s formula needs with a formula allowance.

 
Learn more about WIC and approved foods at www.wicstrong.com.
 

Other Food Benefits

 

Health Bucks

Health Bucks are coupons that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at all NYC farmers markets.
 

  • Get your bucks from hospitals and non-profits.
  • Text “SOGOOD” to 877877 to find local farmer’s markets. Learn more at https://www.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/health-bucks.page

 

Updated on February 8, 2024.


Temporary Assistance for Families

 

For low-income families dealing with issues like homelessness, eviction, underemployment, steep medical expenses, etc., the government offers financial aid in the form of temporary assistance (TA) also known as public assistance (PA). There is a lifetime limit of 60 months for which you can use TA.

 

  • The size of your household, where you live, your income, the type of income you make, and your US residency or immigration status, can affect your ability to get TA.
  • To find out if you are eligible file an application with your local Benefits Access Center. Find the nearest one at www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/locations/job-locations-and-service-centers.page.
  • Apply for TA online at www.nyc.gov/accesshra.
  • More information about eligibility and documentation required on this document.
  • Within 7 working days of applying, your interview will be scheduled . If your temporary assistance application is granted or declined, you will be notified within 30 days.

 
Visit nyc.gov/site/hra/help/cash-assistance.page or call the HRA Infoline at 718-557-1399 for questions.
 
Updated on February 26, 2024
 


Fair Fares NYC

 

FairFaresNYC is a transportation benefit program that gives a 50% discount on MetroCards to help low-income New York City residents. Residents have to meet the qualifications in order to apply.

 
Go to any Fair Fares NYC location for assistance with the application process or to get a replacement card if yours is damaged or stolen. Go to nyc.gov/site/fairfares/contact-us to find an office.
 
Updated on February 27, 2024
 


Unemployment Insurance

 

Unemployment insurance (UI) gives temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, such as being laid off instead of being fired for bad behavior, or having quit on their own for reasons that were not the employer’s fault.

 

  • To apply for UI, create a NY.GOV account at labor.ny.gov/signin and hit the button “Create an NY.GOV account.” If you already have an account, do not create a new one.
  • Get ready your social security number, ID (Driver’s License or Motor Vehicle ID number, Alien Registration Card Number), phone number, address, bank account number or routing number.
  • Collect the names, addresses, phone numbers of all employers for the last 18 months and wage details.
  • Submit the required information and documentation on the Department of Labor website.
  • Once a claim is filed, it takes three to six weeks to receive your first payment.

 
You are eligible to earn weekly UI payments for up to 26 weeks per year. People who work part-time may be able to get assistance.
 
For questions about eligibility and the application process, please visit dol.ny.gov/unemployment-insurance-top-frequently-asked-questions or call the Department of Labor at 888-209-8124, Monday-Friday 8 AM-6 PM.
 
Learn more at dol.ny.gov/unemployment/file-your-first-claim-benefits.
 
Updated on February 26, 2024.
 


Benefits for Long-Term Disabilities

 

Two long-term disability programs for children and adults are available to New Yorkers. These are the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Adults are eligible for SSDI if they have worked in the past but are now unable to do so because of a new impairment. On the other hand, SSI is a program that helps low-income children and others with disabilities by providing funds to cover basic needs, including food, clothing, and housing.

 

To receive SSDI benefits
  • You must have held positions that were eligible for Social Security benefits and have a medical condition that qualifies as a handicap according to Social Security’s rigorous guidelines.
  • Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance online at secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib. To apply in person, go to a local social security office. Find an office near you with the SSO locator at secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp#officeResults. Otherwise, call 1-800-772-1213 (TYY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm.
  • After a five-month wait, SSDI will send you your first payment six full months after the date SSDI found when your disability began.

For questions or information about special situations, go to ssa.gov/benefits/disability/qualify.html.
 

To receive SSI benefits
  • There is no online SSI application.
  • Schedule an appointment with a local Social Security office to file an application.
  • Find an office near you with the SSO locator at secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp#officeResults. Otherwise, call 1-800-772-1213 (TYY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm.

Learn more at www.ssa.gov/ssi.
 
Updated on February 27, 2024
 


Free or Low-Cost Children Health Insurance Programs

 

There are two options for free or low-cost children’s health insurance in New York. These are Children’s Medicaid and Child Health Plus.
 
Either Children’s Medicaid or Child Health Plus provide health coverage for children so that they can get routine check-ups, immunizations, dental care, emergency care, and more to keep them healthy.

 

Children’s Medicaid

The federal government manages Children’s Medicaid, a type of public insurance that doesn’t charge you a monthly fee. However, sometimes you have to pay a small fee for some services, and other times you don’t have to. Under Medicaid, the most you would ever have to pay in copays in a year is $200.
 
Your child is eligible for Children’s Medicaid if:
• It is 1-18 years old
• It resides in NYS and is a U.S. Citizen, National, or a Non-Citizen legally admitted into the U.S
• The amount of money you make is equal or lower than on a portion of the Federal Poverty Level that is set by New York State. See if your income qualifies by checking this Glance Card.
 
Every year, the insurance must be renewed. See details at info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/COVID-19-Changes. To apply go to nystateofhealth.ny.gov.
 

Child Health Plus

Child Health Plus is New York State’s child health insurance program. Depending on your income, the amount you pay each month may be fully subsidized, somewhat subsidized, or not subsidized at all. The monthly fee however is capped at three children for bigger families. Families with income above the low-income threshold for subsidies may have to pay the whole premium, which varies by health plan. In contrast, low-income households are not required to pay a premium.
 
One of the good things about Child Health Plus is that there are no annual deductibles. You can also sign up your kid for it at any time of the year through the NY State of Health.
 
Your child is eligible for Child Health Plus if:
– It is less than 19 years old
– It is not eligible for Children Medicaid
– It cannot be covered by other health insurance
– It resides in New York State, no matter its immigration status
 
For more information about Child Health Plus, check out this Glance Card. Every year, Child Health Plus must be renewed. See details at info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/COVID-19-Changes.
 
Learn if your child qualifies for either Medicaid or Child Health Plus at health.ny.gov/health_care/child_health_plus/eligibility_and_cost. For other questions, call this toll-free number: 1-800-698-4KIDS (1-800-698-4543), and ask about Child Health Plus or Children’s Medicaid. If you are hearing impaired, call the TTY number, 1-877-898-5849.
 
Updated on February 27, 2024


The Essential Plan

 

The Essential Plan is a new health insurance program for New Yorkers. Working people with lower incomes who do not qualify for Medicaid can receive health insurance through the Essential Plan.

 

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or meet immigration status requirements. Also, be an adult who is 19–64 years of age. They should meet certain income requirements based on the size of your family.
  • View income levels for the Essential Plan at nyc.gov/assets/ochia/downloads/pdf/essential-plan-income-chart.pdf.
  • You will either pay no premium or $20/month and you will not have to meet an annual deductible.
  • Get hospital care, prescription drugs, and doctor visits as a minimum.
  • Enrollment is open all year. Call 1-855-355-5777 or TTY: 1-800-662-1220 to sign up.

 
Likewise, you can get free dental and vision care or pay for these benefits, depending on your income. Find more information about the Essential Plan at info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/essentialplan.
 
Updated on February 27, 2024
 


NYC Health + Hospitals/ NYC Care

 

NYC Care is an option for low-cost or free health services in New York City. The services are available citywide for  New Yorkers who do not qualify for or cannot afford health insurance based on federal guidelines.

 

  • Keep in mind that NYC Care is not health insurance. NYC Health + Hospitals’ health care access program guarantees services to uninsured New Yorkers.
  • NYC Care offers a membership card, a regular doctor, high-quality customer service, affordable prescriptions, and more, as if it were health insurance.
  • There are no membership fees, monthly fees, or premiums. You will pay based on what you can afford.
  • Call (646) 692-2273 to find more information and apply to NYC Care.

 
Learn more about this city benefit at www.nyccare.nyc. For questions, send a message to NYCCare@nychhc.org or call (646) 692-2273.
 
Updated on February 26, 2024
 


Medicaid for Pregnancy

 

People who are pregnant can get free Medicaid care through the New York State Department of Health.

 

  • If you’re pregnant and uninsured, you may qualify. How much you earn will determine if you qualify. Call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 800-522-5006 for information to see if you qualify.
  • Coverage is available regardless of immigration status.
  • To sign up, go to the NY State of Health Marketplace at nystateofhealth.ny.gov even if the enrollment period has closed.
  • Call 311 for assistance with your application.
  • Your baby will receive health care for at least one year after its birth.

 
To learn more about Medicaid for Pregnant Women go to access.nyc.gov/programs/medicaid-for-pregnant-women.
 
Updated on February 26, 2024
 


Child Tax Credit

 

The Child Tax Credit helps parents lower their tax bills per qualifying child. Parents and guardians with higher incomes may be eligible to claim a partial credit. If you are New York resident, you can receive tax credits when filing for state taxes.

 

 
Learn more at irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/child-tax-credit.
 
Updated on February 27, 2024
 


NYC Free Tax Prep

 

The city can help you file your taxes for free online or in person. The deadline to file your taxes is April 15.

 

  • To qualify, your income must meet income guidelines. Find out if you qualify at access.nyc.gov/programs/nyc-free-tax-prep.
  • Sign up for free tax preparation at getyourrefund.org/nyc.
  • Submit tax documents using your smartphone, tablet, or computer equipped with a camera.
  • An IRS-certified VITA/TCE preparer will verify your tax information and contact you.

 

Tax Preparation Options:

 
Drop-Off Service

 
In-Person Tax Prep

 
To learn more, visit nyc.gov/taxprep.
 
Updated on February 27, 2024


Discounted Telephone Service by Lifeline Assistance

 
clipart4310830Lifeline Assistance
Telephone Carrier Program
 
New York State Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service is an assistance program offered by many telephone providers, including some wireless and cable companies, to help income-eligible consumers save money on their phone bills.
 
Services
Qualifying consumers can apply to “Lifeline” to receive a monthly discount on either their landline telephone service or their wireless service.
 
Eligibility
In New York State, consumers can qualify for the “Lifeline Program” based on the following eligibility criteria:
Income-Based: Your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Government Assistance Programs: You participate in one of the following programs.
 

Federal Programs State Programs
► Medicaid ► Family Assistance/Safety Net Assistance
► Supplemental Security Income (SSI) ► Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
► Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ► National School Lunch Program
► Federal Public Housing Assistance ——–
► Veteran’s Pension and Survivors Benefit ——–

 
Application
Federal program participation: Apply online.
State program participation: Contact a telephone carrier and ask about their Lifeline Program.
 
Updated on January 16, 2021
 


Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

 

nyc_hra_logo

Energy Assistance by NYC the Human Resources Administration Office
NYC HEAP locations
HEAP Infoline 800-692-0557
Heat Line 212-331-3150
 
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps low-income people pay the cost of heating or cooling their homes. HEAP runs different benefit programs that will pay for: fuel, your utility source, equipment, and/or repairs depending on your needs. As a household, you could either apply for regular or emergency HEAP benefits. Remember, you may still be able to receive benefits even if your heat is included in your rent.
 
Eligibility
The eligibility criteria vary by program. Generally, criteria are based on:
-Household income
-US Citizenship or satisfactory immigration status
 
Find about your eligibility in the Energy Assistance website or call the HEAP Infoline at 800-692-0557.
 
HEAP programs
 
Regular HEAP benefit: a one-time supplement to your annual energy costs. The base amount of money given depends on your living situation. Find more information at otda.ny.gov/programs/heap.
 
Emergency HEAP benefit: Emergency benefits are available if your heat has been turned off or is in danger of being turned off. The Emergency HEAP benefit opens January 3, 2022 and closes March 15, 2022 or until funds run out.
 
Cooling assistance: The Cooling Assistance benefit helps eligible households buy and install an air conditioner or fan up to a cost of $800. The program opens May 2, 2022. Applicants are only eligible for a Cooling Assistance benefit once every five years. For more information call the HEAP Conference Line at 212-331-3126 or apply with your HEAP local district contact in NYC.
 
Utility Assistance Program (UAP) (once the link opens scroll down): UAP assists families or individuals who are elderly, blind, disabled, mentally impaired or those residing in a neglected or hazardous environment who require financial assistance for their energy bills. Contact the Heat Line if you are having trouble paying your utilities bill calling to (212) 331-3150. Here are some other situations that may make you eligible for cash assistance.
 
One Shot Deal- Cash Assistance Program: Starting December 31st, 2021, the One Shot Deal Program provides emergency assistance grants if you get a utility shut-off notice. To help pay utility expenses owed, visit access HRA and select one-shot deal at the top of the page.
 
How to Apply
– By phone: (212) 331-3126
– In person: See offices at nyc.gov/programs/home-energy-assistance-program-heap/#how-to-apply
– Mail: Applications should be mailed to New York City Home Energy Assistance Programm P.O. Box 1401, Church Street Station, New York, NY, 10008. Download application form at otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/3421.pdf
 
To find more information about your eligibility visit the Energy Assistance website and apply.
 

ESPANOL/SPANISH
 
El Programa de Asistencia para la Energía (HEAP por sus siglas en inglés) ayuda a personas con bajos ingresos a pagar el costo de la calefacción y/o ventilación de sus hogares. HEAP tiene diferentes programas de beneficios que pagarán por: combustible, fuente de electricidad, equipos y/o reparaciones dependiendo de su necesidad. Como familia, podrá aplicar para los beneficios regulares o de emergencia de HEAP.
 
Nota: El período de aplicación para beneficios regulares o de emergencia HEAP esta activo desde el 1ro de Octubre de 2021 hasta el 15 de marzo de 2022.
 
Elegibilidad
Los criterios de elegibilidad varían por programa. Conoce si calificas entrando a la página de Energy Assistance.
 
Como Aplicar
Por telefono: (212) 331-3126
Personalmente: Ubica oficinas en el enlace nyc.gov/programs/home-energy-assistance-program-heap/#how-to-apply
Correo: Las aplicaciones deben ser enviadas a New York City Home Energy Assistance Programm P.O. Box 1401, Church Street Station, New York, NY, 10008. Download application form at otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/3421.pdf

 
Updated on January 27, 2022
 


Home Water Assistance Program

 
nyc311-logoHome Water Assistance Program Website
Department of Environmental Protection
311
 
If you’re an eligible low-income homeowner, you can get an annual, non-refundable credit of $115.89 through the Home Water Assistance Program (HWAP). You do not have to enroll in the Home Water Assistance Program.
 
If you’re an eligible homeowner, you will automatically get a credit on your water and sewer account. A credit for $115.89 will appear on the first DEP bill received after the credit is applied. The transaction will be labeled “NYC Home Water Assistance Credit.”
 
Call 311 for assistance.
 
Learn if you qualify here.
 
Updated on September 2, 2020
 


Homeowner Repair Loans

 
homerepairHome Repair and Preservation Financing
HomeFix
Lead Hazard Reduction and Healthy Homes Program

 
If you are a homeowner in one of the five boroughs and need heating upgrades, plumbing or electrical repairs, lead paint removal, roof and window repairs, or other repairs you could receive a homeowner repair loan through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The program provides access to affordable low- or no-interest and potentially forgivable loans for home repairs to eligible owners of one- to four-family homes in New York City
 
For more information about this program by clicking on HomeFix. To find out if you qualify please visit Determine Eligibility.
 

Si es dueño de una casa en uno de los 5 condados de Nueva York y necesita modernizar su sistema de calefacción, hacer reparaciones eléctricas o de plomería, remover pintura a base de plomo, reparar techos y/o ventanas, o necesita hacer otro tipos de reparaciones, usted puede recibir un préstamo para propietarios a través del departamento de salud. Para más información siga el enlace HomeFix. Para conocer si califica para otros programa visite esta página.

 
Updated on December 6, 2020
 


Disaster Relief & Recovery

 
noun_Natural Disasters_27832
Federally Declared Disasters Areas
FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (800) 621-3362 | TTY: (800) 462-7585 | 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS): (800) 621-3362
American Red Cross Greater NYC (877) 733-2767
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (888) 209-8124
 
A disaster is an occurrence disrupting the normal conditions of existence and causing a level of suffering that exceeds the capacity of adjustment of the affected community. Some examples are nor’easters, severe storms with flooding, and power outages.
 
Learn how to prepare and what resources are at your disposal.
 
Find the Nearest Hospital
Find the nearest hospitals in your area and view what services each provides with the US Hospital Finder.
 
Find a Safe Place to Go
Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to talk with someone in person for guidance or information. To find a center near you, use the DRC Locator or text DRC and your ZIP code to 43362. Example: DRC 10029.
 
Disaster Relief Resources and Temporary Sheltering Assistance
► You can apply online or with the FEMA App to manage your disaster application. Your Social Security Number (SSN) is required.
► If you are eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance, FEMA will pay the cost to stay in certain lodging providers for a limited period. Costs covered are for the cost of the room and taxes, and any other expenses are not included. Search the list of participating locations to see if they have availability in the area you have selected.
► Find open shelters with the American Red Cross Greater NYC
 
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
DUA is a federal program that provides payments to people in a federally declared disaster area who have lost work or income as a direct result of the disaster. You must first file for regular Unemployment Insurance by calling the NYS Department of Labor at 888-209-8124.
 
Help with Expenses After a Disaster
You can apply to the NYC Human Resources Administration for a one-time emergency grant, also called the “One Shot Deal.” Call (718) 557-1399 for more information.
 
Coping with Stress Related to Disasters
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene helps New Yorkers. Contact NYC Well at 888-692-9355 for counseling and resources.
 
Information Resources
Preparedness Actions Education
NYC Emergency Management Office 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115)
Notify NYC App
Know Your Zone (Hurricanes)



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