HOW IT WORKS
If you earn $68,000 or less in 2020, the City can help you file your taxes for free. You can file online or in person. To learn more, visit: nyc.gov/taxprep
— Single filers with incomes up to $48,000.
— Filers with dependents with incomes up to $68,000.
Virtual Tax Preparation
— Online tax prep service where an IRS-certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) volunteer preparer will:
— Help you file your 2020 tax return during a 60-90 min virtual call;
— Use a secure digital system to manage your tax documents;
— Answer your tax questions.
Self-Prep with Help
— You can do your own taxes with easy-to-use tax filing software, but contact a volunteer preparer for help when needed.
— Locations are limited this year due to COVID-19, so filers with internet access are encouraged to consider online service options.
— At an NYC Free Tax Prep site for drop-off service, you can drop off your tax documents and pick up the completed return later. Filers must follow NY State health guidelines, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing appropriately during the visit.
In-Person Tax Prep
— Locations are limited this year due to COVID-19, so filers with internet access are encouraged to consider online service options.
— At an NYC Free Tax Prep site for in-person tax prep, knowledgeable IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparers will sit down with you to complete an accurate tax return. — Sessions take a minimum of 30 minutes. Filers must follow NY State Health guidelines, including wearing a mask and social distancing appropriately during the visit.
HOW TO USE IT
VITA/TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other locations. To locate the nearest VITA/TCE site near you use the VITA Locator Tool: irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep or call 800-906-9887.
— Call 718-509-9958 to schedule an appointment. Hours of operation and languages offered vary depending on the VITA location site.
— Hours of Operation: (vary depending on VITA location site)
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11AM – 8PM
Tuesday, Friday: 11AM-6PM
Languages: English, Spanish, possibly other languages depending on VITA location site.
Last updated 3/3/2021
Eviction Moratoria and Courthouse Operations
NYC Housing Courts | email@example.com
Contact the City’s Tenant Helpline by calling 311 and say “Tenant Helpline”
Under a State law called the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act you can prevent yourself from eviction in New York City.
If you have experienced financial hardship or face significant health risk because of COVID-19, you cannot be evicted until at least May 1, 2021.
You must deliver your landlord, the local eviction court, or both a “Tenant’s Declaration of Hardship During the COVID-19 Pandemic” to protect yourself from eviction. To deliver this declaration online to the interested parties fill out this form by Housing Justice for All. A copy of the form will be sent to you as well.
For emergency cash assistance or to apply to the COVID-19 relief program, call 311 to get more information or visit the Major’s Office to Protect Tenants website.
Benefits for Long-Term Disabilities
1-800-772-1213 (Social Security Disability Insurance)
1-800-722-1213 (Social Security Income)
The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance of New York State has two long-term disability benefits programs.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a Federal disability income program for adults who have worked and now find themselves unable to work due to a disability.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal program for adults and children who meet the definition of disabled and have limited income and resources. It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and it provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.
“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
–You cannot do work that you did before;
–The OTDA office decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s) and
–Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance
—By phone: Call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
—In person: Visit your local Social Security office. (Call first to make an appointment.)
Apply for Social Security Income
There is no online SSI Application. Schedule an appointment with a local Social Security office to file an application. Call 1-800-722-1213 (TYY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday 7 am to 7 pm.
According to the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board. Disability benefits are temporary cash benefits paid to an eligible wage earner when he/she is disabled by an off-the-job injury or illness. Pregnancy is covered under short-term disability. The benefit is paid by your employer’s disability insurance. This type of insurance is mandatory for most employers in New York State. Find out if your employer is covered.
In order to be eligible for short-term disability benefits, you must have become injured or ill while not at work but must be employed, or recently employed, at the time of illness or injury. Benefit rights begin on the eighth consecutive day of disability and last for a maximum of 26 weeks of disability during 52 consecutive weeks (Benefit checks are processed every two weeks). For employed workers, there is a 7-day waiting period for which no benefits are paid.
The amount of cash to be received via check equals 50% of the worker’s weekly wage and no more than $170 per week. Benefit checks are processed every two weeks up to 26 consecutive times (52 weeks will be covered in total).
When and How to Make a Claim
You must file your claim within 30 days of becoming disabled. Complete the Workers Compensation Board’s form Employee Claim (C-3) as soon as possible to ensure your benefits are not delayed or interrupted. You must also notify your employer in writing of when, where, and how you were injured or became ill. Find more information here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Definitions are important to know. Check this website with answers to FAQs. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board can be contacted regarding short-term disability insurance for employees at (877) 632-4996.
Other Disability Benefits
For long-term disabilities (a year disability), two federal programs exist. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a Federal disability income program for adults who have worked and now find themselves unable to work due to a disability. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal program for adults and children who meet the definition of disabled and have limited income and resources. The SSI is designed to help aged, blind, and severely disabled people, who have little or no income; and it provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The benefits are paid by the state.
Department of Finance
Tenants that qualify for the NYC Rent Freeze Program for Tenants with Disabilities (DRIE) can have their rent frozen and be exempt from future rent increases. This does not lower your rent but only keeps it from increasing.
To be eligible for DRIE, you must meet the following requirements
► You must be at least 18 years old.
You must receive one of the following:
► Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
► Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
► Disability-related Medicaid (if you have received either SSI or SSDI in the past)
► Veterans Affairs Disability Pension
► Veterans Affairs Compensation
► United States Postal Service (USPS) Disability Pension
► United States Postal Service (USPS) Disability Compensation
► You must live in an eligible apartment type.
► You must be named on the lease or the rent order or have been granted succession rights to the apartment.
► The apartment must be your primary residence, meaning you live there for most of the year.
► You must spend more than one-third of your monthly household income on rent.
► The total combined income for all members of your household must be $50,000 or less in the prior calendar year (DRIE records all income sources, taxable, and non-taxable. You can’t deduct your medical expenses and Medicare premium).
More information on eligibility at Disability Rent Increase Exemption.
Complete the DRIE Initial Application. You can submit your application online by signing up with the Department of Finance or by sending it to New York City Department of Finance Rent Freeze Program – DRIE P.O. Box 3179 Union, NJ 07083
More information about the application at Disability Rent Increase Exemption.
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.
► 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)
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.
Qualifying consumers can apply to “Lifeline” to receive a monthly discount on either their landline telephone service or their wireless service.
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||——–|
NYC Financial Empowerment Centers
Book An Appointment with a Counselor Online
You can get free financial counseling by phone. Visit nyc.gov/TalkMoney to book an appointment. Work with your counselor to open a bank account so you can set up direct deposit; navigate the IRS Get My Payment tool; manage sudden changes to your household budget or income; contact creditors, and more.
Clients will be required to create a Financial Empowerment Portal account.
Under New York City and federal law, consumers may request at any time that a debt collector stop communicating with them permanently about a debt or alleged debt. In addition, if you are facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, you can request that debt collection agencies stop contacting you temporarily about the debt.
See the instructions on how to draft a letter addressed to the collection agency
Updated on September 2, 2020
Childcare Subsidy explained by IncludeNYC
Based on your income, childcare can be free to low cost with a childcare subsidy. Use the ACS Eligibility Wizard to see if you qualify by visiting
To apply for an ACS childcare subsidy, the application and a list of other forms you will need to complete can be found here: https://on.nyc.gov/2KYia3W. Submit applications to an approved ACS funded childcare provider. You must submit three months of consecutive pay stubs in order to verify employment. If you cannot, your employer can complete the “Referral to Employer for Income Information” form.
Find more information in this tipsheet by IncludeNYC.
Updated on August 31, 2020
Prenatal Care in New York State
Call 311 and ask for Medicaid for Pregnant Women
Call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline at 800-522-5006
Free Medicaid coverage is available for pregnant women through the New York State Department of Health.
If you’re pregnant and uninsured, you may qualify to sign up for an insurance plan through the NY State of Health Marketplace, even if the enrollment period is closed.
Furthermore, free coverage is available regardless of immigration status. Babies receive health care services for at least one year after birth. Note: Extended access to family planning services is available to women who have Medicaid while pregnant but lose coverage after pregnancy.
Child support is financial support provided by the noncustodial parent. Any parent, guardian, caretaker of a child, or child who needs support can apply for child support services.
The Child Support Program offers the following services:
-Location of the non-custodial parent
-Establishment of paternity
-Help a custodial parent file a petition in Family Court for an order of support
-Directs the noncustodial parent to pay child support to the Support Collection Unit (SCU)
-Enforcement of payments by non-custodial parent
To learn about what information is needed to open a case go to the NYS Custodial Parent Information page. If you need help, call the hotline at 888-208-4485 Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. For more information visit https://www.childsupport.ny.gov/dcse/custodial_parent_info.html.
You may be eligible to pay an annual charge for child support services. Find if you should pay this fee by visiting the Annual Service Fee Questions and Answers page.
Home Water Assistance Program Website
Department of Environmental Protection
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.
Single Stop is a safe space that will support you and your family’s needs. There are free programs to help you buy fresh groceries, help you with your taxes, and help you care for your children.
Use the Single Stop online benefit screener to find out what benefit programs you are eligible for.
Energy Assistance by NYC the Human Resources Administration Office
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
The eligibility criteria vary by program. Find about your eligibility in the Energy Assistance website.
Note: The HEAP benefit opens November 2, 2020. The deadline to submit applications is March 15, 2021.
–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 here.
–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 4, 2021 and closes March 15, 2021 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 operates from May to August. Applicants are only eligible for a Cooling Assistance benefit once every five years.
–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.
To find more information about your eligibility visit the Energy Assistance website and apply.
Updated on December 12, 2020
WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is a short-term food assistance program that provides nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition counseling, health education, and health care referrals to pregnant women, infants, and children up to age 5.
Qualifying for benefits will depend on the family’s income and household size. To see if you qualify fill out the pre-screening tool on the NYC HRA site. Keep in mind that U.S. Citizenship is not necessary.
How to Apply
Guide to apply for WIC | Spanish guide to apply for WIC
At your WIC appointment, you will receive an eWIC card that will work like a debit card. The WIC staff will add your benefits to your family’s eWIC account and you will get a list of your family’s WIC benefits for the next three months. This list will have a start and end dates for your benefits.
Types of Food & Shopping at the Supermarket
Read the WIC Approved Foods and Products List to learn about the types of foods you can choose at WIC approved market sites. Also, feel free to check out this WIC Approved Foods Card.
To learn more about how to use your eWIC card watch the “Shopping with eWIC” video.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal nutrition program that helps families, the elderly, and the disabled afford fresh and healthy food. SNAP provides a debit card that you can use at many groceries and farmers markets.
Guide to apply for SNAP | Spanish guide to apply for SNAP
To find out about the list of approved foods and products you have access to with SNAP visit USA gov.
Watch the video “HRA SNAP”, to learn about the program.
FairFares NYC gives a 50% discount on MetroCards to help low-income New York City residents. Residents have to meet the qualifications in order to apply. Find an informational handout here.
Click on the link FairFares NYC to learn about your eligibility and how to apply.
Click here for answers to questions you may have about the program.
There are FairFares offices in every borough. Click here for the locations.
Home Repair and Preservation Financing
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.
The unemployment benefit available is for workers that have lost their jobs at no fault of their own and are ready, willing, and actively looking for work. File a New Unemployment Insurance and claim your benefits at the Department of Labor website.
Updated on August 2, 2020.