Qualification For Emergency Cash Assistance In New York

The Community Service Society (CSS) aims at fighting against poverty and strengthening the city of New York.  To help with emergency situation, CSS provide cash assistance to low income individuals and families. This cash assistance is provided to help poor people to fulfill their fundamental needs like rent, clothing and transport expenses. In other words CSS helps people who are homeless, those cannot afford to buy food, those who the landlord has asked to vacate their homes or apartments or have received an eviction notice, those who cannot afford to buy fuel to heat their apartments or homes, or those facing the possibility of having their utilities shut off, and other emergency situation such as violence, threats and abuse of all kinds.

In New York City, the Human Resource Administration (HRA) agency is responsible for Cash Assistance to low income individuals and families. Moving forward, we will discuss on the eligibility criteria to receive the above benefits and answers for common questions that may arise regarding this type of assistance for those living below the poverty level.

Immigrants Eligibility for Cash Assistance:

To Provide Assistance To Families

US citizens; qualified aliens who entered US before 22 August 1996; qualified aliens who entered the country after 22 August 1996 if they are refugees and asylees, immigrations who have their deportation withheld, who is on active duty in US army or honorably discharged veterans, their spouses, widows and dependent children.

To Make Safety Assistance Available To The Poor:

US citizens; qualified aliens irrespective of their date of entry; non-qualified aliens those reside legally & permanently with the permission from Immigration and Neutralization services (INS).

Individuals residing without legal status, temporary status such a tourist or a student visa are not eligible for citizenship criteria.

If a child has born in US to undocumented immigrants he is eligible for this benefit as is the child of a US citizen. However, the parents are not eligible for the Cash Assistance benefit. When applying for the Cash Assistance for the child, the parents need to mention that they are immigrants and are applying for the benefits of the child and not for them.

When a household begin to receive the government cash assistance benefits, they will probably be assigned work activities by the agency. In case,  you are working  and applying for the cash assistance, your income will be taken into account to calculate the cash benefit amount that you will be eligible for.

The Human Resource Administration agency provides three types of Cash Assistance in New York. They are as follows:

  1. Family Assistance
  2. Safety Net Assistance - Cash
  3. Safety Net Assistance - non-Cash


Family Assistance (FA):

Family Assistance is a cash benefit that a family can receive for up to five years. This benefit is mainly for the households  that have children younger than 18 years old or living with a relative who is taking care of the child. This benefit is also applicable dependants who are 19 years old  if they are still in their high school full time. This HRA program used to be called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).


Safety Net Assistance – Cash (SNA- Cash):

Safety Net Assistance – Cash benefit can be received not more than two years. This benefit is provided for a single adult or couples without children. HRA refers to this benefit program under it's older name, "Home Relief (HR)".


Safety Net Assistance –Non - Cash (SNA- non-Cash):

Safety Net Assistance –Non-Cash benefit is for the households that have completed using up the 5 years of Family Assistance or 2 years benefits of Safety Net Assistance – Cash in case of families without children but are still in need of support. These families need to complete a two page application and there will be a re-assessment to check the eligibility for transferring to Safety Net Assistance –Non – Cash benefit. If an able-bodied adult wishes to continue after the 5 years is complete, he needs to under-go the reassessment interview before the 60 months period ends. There should not be any gap between the 60 months period and the re-application for SNA non cash.

Safety Net Assistance –Non – Cash benefit will pay the rent directly to the land lord; Utilities bills will be paid directly to the providers; the remaining grant will be given in the form of plastic benefit card similar to an EBT card. The remaining money after paying the rent and utilities will be encoded on the card. There is no maximum time limit to receive the Safety Net Assistance –Non – Cash benefit and will be paid as long as the households’ need.

To apply for the Cash Assistance, you need to contact the welfare centre nearest to your place. You can contact the HRA to know the welfare center details nearest to your home.

The following documents are essential when you are applying for the Cash Assistance:

  1. Proof of Identity such as Driver’s license, Photo ID, birth certificate
  2. Proof of Income such as pay stub for the previous four weeks, award letters for other benefits.
  3. Proof of Resources: Bank book/saving account statements; account statements of past two months.
  4. Proof of Residence: Rent Receipt, Recent utility bill; Lease
  5. Proof of citizenship: US passport; Citizenship papers; INS Documentation.
  6. Proof of Social Security number
  7. Proof of the school that the children are attending
  8. Proof of the age of the children

The documents may also vary for different people.

If your application for Cash Assistance is accepted, you will receive a notice that tells you the amount that you will be receiving and when the benefits period begins. If your application is denied, the notice will state the reason for the denial. However, you can call a Fair Hearing to review the decision. In fair hearing, the judge who works for the State explains the reason for the denial of Cash Assistance. You will be given a chance to explain why you are eligible for the Cash Assistance.

To continue to receive the Cash assistance, you must re-certify your eligibility at least twice a year. During the re-certification period, you will receive a notice that states  which day you have to go for the re-certification and the notice will also tell you the documents you need to bring with you on the day of re-certification.

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