New York City public assistance programs.

The number of government assistance programs available in New York City is extensive. Low income families and those who are struggling can receive help from cash assistance, government food, health care, and grants for paying heating bills. Those are just to name a few of the public assistance and social services available. The Department of Social Services is one of the leading agencies to call for help in New York City.

Cash assistance

The city administers the Temporary Assistance fund, or TA. This resource consists of two primary programs, including Safety Net Assistance as well as Family Assistance. Both of these can provide cash and other aid to those who are struggling and/or trying to find a job. Typical recipients of this program are those who are working but their job does not pay enough or those who are unemployed. The city of New York and Temporary Assistance can help pay for your bills and expenses, and case workers can also help you find a new job.

The resource is also commonly called Temporary Aid to Needy Families Program. Up to 60 months of cash is available to families from this public and federal government program. If you are a single adult without children, then you too can also get help with your basic living needs. This is provided from the New York State Safety Net Program.

New York City will provide qualified applicants with a cash grant as part of these various resources. Some of what can be paid for includes food, prescription medications, housing, rent, and energy bills. Additional grant money can assist with other emergency expenses as well. Read more.




Heating and utility bills can also be paid for in NYC from the HEAP energy assistance program. Renters and homeowners can receive help paying their heating bills, repairs to equipment (such as a furnace) and sometimes even money for paying summer air conditioning bills. Any type of cash is paid out as a grant, and not a loan, so the money does not need to be paid back. Your local Department of Social Services office administers the program. Get more details on New York HEAP.

A number of criteria need to be met by applicants for this public aid program. Eligibility is determined by, among other things, whether the household income is below guidelines set by New York State. These will factor in total household income as well as the number of people living in the home. The HEAP program may be able to offer a benefit to those families even if their heating costs or utilities are included in the monthly rent. Grants can also be used to help those who live in subsidized housing in New York City. So the HEAP program is very flexible. Call 800-692-0557 or (212) 331-3150 for more details.





Customer facing a medical hardship in the event of a utility disconnection can also receive help from the city. If there is a person, senior, or disabled individual living in a building or complex, the city requires that utility companies must contact the Heat Line to prevent the disconnection until the person with the hardship has been addressed.

New York City Utility Assistance Program can assist individuals or families who are disabled, elderly, blind, or mentally impaired. It is a state mandated program that is available locally. The UAP program receives referrals from heating providers and utility companies on behalf of customers faced with termination of services due to delinquent bills, meter tampering, nonpayment, or theft of service. The state requires that energy companies notify the Department of Social Services prior to shutoff of service, and at minimum 15 days notice needs to be provided. In addition to this notification, limited amounts of financial and cash assistance may be offered to pay energy and heating bills.

Other cash assistance and social services may be offered too. In general, eligibility is based on factors such as total household income and resources, citizen/legal alien status and household composition. Eligible clients and families can receive short term cash assistance. To do so, they need to engage in work activities or job training. Receive assistance with job placement and training, education, resume services, housing costs, workshops and other support services. Those participating in an approved program may also be able to receive bus passes, car fare or child care expenses.

Public health care and medical bill assistance in New York City

The Department of Social Services also has information on many federal, state, and local health and medical programs. The government offers an array of free and low-cost public health insurance programs for low-income families and individuals in New York City. Some of these plans provide medical care through a managed care plan or they may use a fee-for-service plan.




The city, their Human Resources Administration and social service department work together and run the Medical Assistance Program division. This is the citywide initiative that oversees these various government and public health care resources. They run it, administer the rules and regulations, and set the income levels for each service.

Families, seniors, and individuals across the city can qualify for public or government health insurance even if they have financial assets, an income, own a car or house, receive private health insurance, or have a bank account. So those who may sometimes be considered more moderate income may qualify. Those persons and families who are receiving SSI or cash assistance, low-income, working poor are generally automatically eligible. In addition, persons over 65, pregnant women, children, and the disabled are also eligible for medical bill assistance.

Some examples of the health care plans available in New York City include the Family Planning Benefit Program; Federal Government Medicaid; Family Health Plus; Child Health Plus; Medicare Savings Plan (also known as Medicare Buy-In); and also the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working People with Disabilities.

What is offered from each program will vary. Some will pay for hospital bills, dental care, or outpatient services. Others can cover more specialty care, such as lab work, root canals, dental cleanings, or other more intensive procedures.

Senior programs and resources

The elderly population in NYC can look into Long-Term Care Services. A number of resources are part of this, and they are either community-based, in-home, institutional, or hospital care services and programs that are designed to help senior citizens and the elderly. Also, support may be provided for individuals with disabilities, regardless of their age. These long term and senior services can also be medical or non-medical. For example, the elderly can get help with activities such as dressing, bathing, transportation, and housecleaning.

The New York City Long-Term Home Health Care Program can provide for case management, home care, and skilled services for seniors who require more nursing home level services.

Adult Protective Services is a New York state-mandated case management and social services program that arranges for support for physically and/or mentally impaired adults and provides services for those who are at risk of harm and have no other options.

Managed Long-Term Care Program – Seniors or people who are on public health insurance programs such as Medicaid or Medicare can receive skilled services, case management and home care. Applicants also need to be medically eligible for the level of health care that is normally provided in a skilled nursing facility or health-related facility.

Medicaid-Funded Home Care/Personal Care includes housekeeping services or home attendant for people having difficulty with daily life activities, such as walking, cleaning, housekeeping, bathing, using the bathroom, and cooking.

Some of the various agencies that work together to help seniors and the elderly in New York City are the New York City Department for the Aging, New York State Department of Health and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD), as well as charities such as the United Way and Salvation Army. Get more information senior assistance.

Food assistance programs, including food stamps/SNAP and assistance for children

The main government resource is known as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or food stamps. It provides nutrition and food assistance to over 1 million families in New York City, including children, the disabled, and seniors. The main goal of the assistance program is to help lower income and unemployed families pay for nutritious groceries and foods.





Beneficiaries will be issued a debit card that is used to buy food. New York City strongly encourages families to use their food stamp benefits and vouchers to eat healthy, and to buy vegetables, fruits and other nutritious items. SNAP Food Stamps and the debit card can be used at many locations across NYC, including supermarkets, grocery stores, some Green Carts, and most local farmers markets in the city.

This can help the low and maybe even more moderate income families. For example, many residents don't even know that they are eligible for public assistance from the food stamp program. The only way to know for sure is to apply, and the city and most social workers encourage this. Many people who receive food assistance have money saved, may own their own home or car, and even immigrants can be qualified. Emergency cash benefits and vouchers may be issued as well.

Children and students from low income families can receive additional help from the School Lunch Program. It offers free and reduced priced meals to children in public schools throughout the boroughs and New York City.

New York City employment services

Several resources are offered by the Department of Social Services, and they can help people find a new job, or maybe acquire a new skill.

Those with limited English proficiency and low basic skills can benefit from BEGIN, which is formally known as Begin Employment, Gain Independence Now. This resource specializes in helping people acquire basic skills and literacy instruction.

Families in New York City who currently receive public assistance can sign up for WeCARE. This is a fairly unique initiative that addresses the needs of low income clients with mental health or medical barriers to employment. Case managers and social workers can provide customized assistance and services to clients.

The Back to Work program will assign a single social workers to a job seeker. They will work together from assessment through job placement. There will also be follow up services after someone is placed into a position. This comprehensive service should lead to a higher success rate.

Your local Human Resources Administration, Department of Social Services offices and related agencies can be contacted per below for information on public aid and government cash assistance.

Veterans' Service Center, 25 Chapel Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201, call 718-473-8313. Can provide cash assistance is a member of the household is a veteran.

Coney Island, 3050 West 21st Street, Brooklyn, New York 11224, dial 718-333-3092

Dekalb, 500 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205, phone 718-636-2626 for information

Bushwick, 30 Thornton Street, Brooklyn, New York 11206, main telephone 718-963-5120




Linden, 45 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, primary phone 718-237-6509

Bayridge, 6740 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11220, dial 718-921-2084

Rider, 305 Rider Avenue, Bronx, N.Y. 10451, telephone call 718-742-3811 for intake

Crotona, 1910 Monterey Avenue, Bronx, New York 10457, dial 718-901-0201

Melrose, 260 East 161st Street, Bronx, N.Y. 10451, primary phone 718-664-2143

Fordham, 2541-2549 Bainbridge Ave., Bronx, NY 10458, call 718-220-6622

Waverly, 12 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011, telephone 212-620-9890

East End , 2322 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10035, main phone 212-860-2749

Union Square, 109 E. 16th Street, New York, NY 10003. Call 212-835-8300. This social service office primarily serves families and individuals with employment services and job training.

Intensive Services Center, 109 E. 16th Street, New York, New York 10003, call 212-835-8261

Family Services Call Center Manhattan Satellite, 132 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027. Main phone 212-666-7566. Handles emergency walk-in activities and face to face recertifications for those who do not currently receive cash or public assistance.

St. Nicholas Job Center, 132 W. 125th Street, New York, New York 10027, dial 212-666-5678

Dyckman, 4055 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10034, telephone number 212-569-9543

Senior Works Center, 109 E. 16th Street, New York, NY 10003, 212-835-8445. Programs offered at this location focus on helping seniors and the elderly.

Family Service Call Center, 165-08 88th Avenue, 5th Floor, Jamaica, NY 11432, dial 718-752-3937
Jamaica, 165-08 88th Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432, 718-523-2146

Queens, 34-00 Northern Blvd., LIC, New York 11101, telephone number 718-752-7017

East River, One Honeywell Street, LIC, NY 11101, dial 718-784-2922. Runs a job center for the very low income and homeless individuals and families. Can help people apply for cash assistance, offers employment services, job training, and offers referrals to various social services.

Rockaway, 219 Beach 59th St., Rockaway, New York 11692, dial 718-637-2144 for information on assistance programs.

Family Services Call Center, Queens Satellite, 34-00 Northern Blvd., LIC, NY 11101, 718-610-2927 offers walk in support too.

Richmond, 201 Bay Street, S. I., N.Y. 10301, call 718-556-7334



By Jon McNamara

“Related Links” are listed below.




Contact Us

About Us


Privacy policy