New York City cash assistance and grants.

New York City families that meet very low income levels may be able to receive grants and short term cash assistance for their basic needs. Any type of help is provided to families with children as part of the federal government TANF program, or Temporary Aid to Needy Families. Those city residents who do not have children may benefit from the State Safety Net Program.

These resources are generally only offered to those residents with very low incomes. There are several conditions that need to be met as well, and program terms can also change over time. The citywide Human Resources Administration (HRA) administers it and processes applications. Some of the qualifications are noted below.

  • Clients that are receiving temporary cash assistance in New York City must engage in work activities. This can include aggressively seeking a job or be currently working.
  • When you apply, eligibility for these cash programs is based on factors such as the family’s assets, total income levels, and other resources. As part of this process, New York City will also review the applicant’s citizen/legal alien status as well as household composition.
  • For those who need a job, Human Resources Administration can provide assistance in the form of resume services, job training and placement, education, career workshops and other support services.

Those are some of the conditions in place, however they can change. The federal government may also set new rules and regulations. For those residents that apply and are approved, the following benefits may be provided.

  • Families with children may receive up to 5 years cash assistance under TANF. All funds are provided directly by the federal government to New York City, and government funding levels can also change from year to year. After that 60 month timeframe expires then additional government aid may be provided in certain cases.
  • Those households without children can benefit from the New York State Safety Net Program. This may also offer up to 60 months of assistance in the form of cash grants.





  • People that are participating in an approved program can get help in other ways as well. They may be able to receive assistance in paying for child care expenses or transportation costs. This is available for work on job searching needs.
  • Temporary benefits provided by HRA include a cash grant that can be used to pay rent, shelter/housing costs, utility bills, food, and additional money to assist with other living expenses.

Resources are available for other needs as well. Some of the more common ones include the following. Families can be referred too, and get help in applying for, food assistance and vouchers through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Health insurance and medical coverage may also be offered to the low income and uninsured through one of the state's Public Health Insurance Programs.

Many New York City residents who are benefiting from TANF and that are seeking a job also receive assistance from the Back to Work program. This can help individuals as they will be able to work with approved community-based vendors. They can get help with job-hunting assistance, resume writing and interviewing skills. The goal is to get any family receiving benefits into a new job or career, so job placement is available.

The vendors that take part in Back to Work will partner with clients from the time they apply for cash assistance. This will occur throughout the entire timeframe up until their placement into a permanent job. Even after the individual receives a position, the case manager will support them for up to six months after they start that new job.





The goal is to help New York City residents gain self-sufficiency and full time employment. After all, having a decent job with life sustaining wages is the key to get people off of TANF or the Safety Net Program. Some of the employment activities offered to candidates includes vocational training, short-term job search support, and basic education. People need to apply for these benefits and services at a Job Center in your area or borough.

Those New York City households that benefit from cash assistance can also take advantage of WeCARE. This can help address the needs of clients with mental health or medical barriers to employment. The city and its social workers will help clients achieve their highest levels of self-sufficiency over the long term.

In a crisis, additional emergency cash assistance may be provided by One Shot. This is in addition to any cash grants available from TANF or the above mentioned State Safety Net Program. While terms, conditions, and funding may vary, it can help pay for rent or moving expenses in a crisis. Funds may be offered for paying home heating and utility bills. Cash assistance may even be available for certain personal items for health and safety needs. More on New York City One Shot emergency assistance.

While federal government funds are used to pay for these programs, Temporary Aid to Needy Families is run locally by the Human Resources Administration Family Independence Administration. They offer many resources, services, employment programs, and more. The goal is to help people achieve stability. Call 718-557-1399.



By Jon McNamara

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