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New York disability benefit programs.

A number of benefits as well as financial assistance programs are offered by the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Several non-profits and charities (listed below) also help people with a physical or mental disability. There may be free grants or cash aid, transportation or mobility services, health or home-care programs, free legal aid for applying for SSI and more.

These resources will be focused on the needs of individuals, families, or seniors who are disabled. Both emergency financial aid is offered in New York as well as free material goods. These assistance programs are offered in addition to any so called standard non-profit or government programs.

Help in applying for disability in New York

Applications for SSI and/or Social Security Disability are done through your local social security office. Call 800-772-1213. However the Division of Disability Determinations in New York may help medical determinations on any claims that are filed. They can assist with either temporary or permanent disability benefits. So the state works closely with the federal government on the process.

For those individuals who may have been denied Social Security Disability benefits, such as SSI or SSDI or who are denied other financial aid, they are entitled to a Fair Hearing. This provides the person, using the help of a lawyer or advocate if need be, an opportunity to tell an Administrative Law Judge why they should be considered disabled. There is also other free legal aid in New York.

This is also offered when the applicant thinks a decision about your case made by a local social services agency is incorrect. The hearing will take place in front of a judge from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Office of Administration.

If your claim or application has been rejected, residents can also request a Fair Hearing. This can be done online, in person, or by dialing toll free numbers. The number statewide is 1-800-342-3334. For residents of New York City that have had their disability claim rejected, they can dial 1-800-205-0110.




Get information on your disability claim too. The New York Division of Disability Determinations (DDD) makes medical determinations and decisions on a resident’s disability claims. They work in close cooperation with the Social Security Administration Disability Insurance program.

There are also advocates and free, pro-bono lawyers in New York who can help people applying for government disability benefits. They assist with the paperwork, completing forms and filings, can contact with Social Security Administration and assist with other steps of the process. Learn more on filing for disability.

Financial benefits and cash assistance for the disabled

Cash assistance may be available from the TA program. This is available for people who can’t work or are unable to find a job. The program may offer benefits that can be used to help pay for expenses and basic needs, including food, shelter, or medications.

Heating and utility bill assistance is available for income qualified disabled residents from the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) as well as from crisis grants. This is paid for by the federal government and the state of New York. While the program can help a wide range of residents, priority is for the disabled, especially those that are also elderly. Grants can be provided for paying heating bills, maybe repairing furnaces, and other support.

When facing a disconnection, there is an LIHEAP crisis program available. The government offices will try to issue funds in as little as 3 business days (or less) to try to help low income and/or disabled customers keep their heat or electric on. It is a crisis program that can expedite delivery of financial aid. Read more on LIHEAP crisis.





Housing assistance, shelter, and rental help may be administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). They run or have information on various programs that can address upcoming evictions or current homelessness in New York. Vouchers, cash assistance, counseling, and more may be available. In addition, OTDA oversees both single and family shelters for the recently evicted or homeless. They work with local social service and non-profit agencies on this program.

Some towns or counties may offer respite care for the disabled person’s caregiver. This can provide them with a temporary break from their normal duties and relieve them of the stress involved in being a caregiver. Assistance offered can include a variety adult day services (adult day care), a nursing facility in New York, short term facility based care such as in an assisted living, or maybe in-home care.

Free or low cost food and nutritional education can be provided by Eat Smart New York as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. OTDA provide vouchers for groceries and other support. The monthly benefits can be used to purchase food or groceries at authorized retail food stores.

New York state will also give priority to the disabled when it comes to applying for, and filing for, government food assistance programs. There are several USDA as well as state resources, ranging from surplus commodities to SNAP food stamps, Meals on Wheels for the handicapped and more. Get help from food programs.

In some cases the disabled can still work and receive benefits. So OTDA provides a number of services to assist in both finding and retaining employment. In some cases the individual may be assigned someone at the job site to help them as they work.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, can help low- and medium-income residents with preparing and filing their state and federal taxes. In addition, they can be electronically filed at no cost. The individual will also be able to explore all tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Transportation may be offered in some local counties. This can include rides to doctor appointments, nutrition sites, hospitals, pharmacies, shopping or other vital destinations. In some cases, a caregiver for a disabled person can get transportation too, such as free car repairs using volunteer services or government aid. The goal is to ensure a safe, working automobile (or say hand-capped friendly van) is available. More on free car repairs for low income households.







The main responsibilities and functions of OTDA is to provide temporary cash assistance, help with paying heating bills, food, housing and assistance for the homeless. They are also involved in determining certain aspects of eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits and ensure immigrants and children get the help they need. The New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance can be reached at 518-473-1090. Many of the cash assistance programs, such as HEAP or food stamps, can be applied to by dialing 1-800-342-3009.

More New York non-profit and additional public disability programs

The Arc New York
393 Delaware Avenue
Delmar, NY 12054
Call (518) 439-8311

AHRC, New York City Arc Chapter
Office address: 83 Maiden Lane
New York, NY 10038
Telephone: (800) 662-1220

Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region, New York
Location : 101 State Street
Schenectady, NY 12305
(518) 355-2191

Brain Injury Association of New York State
10 Colvin Avenue
Albany, NY 12206-1242
(800) 444-6443

The Center for Developmental Disabilities, New York Hospital Queens
59-16 174th Street (Lower Level)
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
(718) 670-2731

Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State
330 West 34th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10001-2488, (212) 947-5770
90 State Street, Suite 929, Albany, NY 12207, dial (518) 436-0178

Developmental Disabilities Institute
99 Hollywood Drive
Smithtown, NY, 11787
(631) 366-2900





Learning Disabilities Association, New York City
Location: 27 West 20th Street?, Suite 303
New York, NY 10011
Main phone number is (212) 645-6730

Learning Disabilities Association of New York State
1190 Troy-Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
Call (518) 608-8992

National Autism Association, New York Metro Chapter
60 East 96th Street, Apt. 5CD
New York, NY 10128
Dial (212) 977-7722

National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New York City-Southern New York Chapter
2 Gannett Drive, Suite LC, White Plains, NY 10604, (914) 694-1654
733 Third Avenue, Third Floor, New York, NY 10017, (212) 463-7787

New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
125 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
Call (212) 788-5261

New York School for the Deaf
555 Knollwood Road
White Plains, NY 10603
(914) 949-7310

New York State Commission For the Blind and Visually Handicapped
New York City Office, 80 Maiden Lane, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10038
(212) 825-5710

New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities
401 State Street
Schenectady, NY 12305
Toll free number is (800) 624-4143

New York State Department of Health
Address is Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237
Call (866) 881-2809 for details.

New York State Department of Health, Long-Term Care
Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237

New York State Medicaid Program
Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237
(800) 541-2831





New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
Main address 99 Washington Avenue, 12th Floor, Suite 1230
Albany, New York 12210
(800) 395-3372

New York State Education Department oversees several services from offices and locations noted below. Several programs are focused on assisting the disabled.

  • Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation, One Commerce Plaza, Room 1609, Albany, New York 12234, Phone - (800) 222-5627
  • Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living Services, One Commerce Plaza, Room 1601, Albany, New York 12234, (518) 474-2925
    The organization believes that all people, including those with a disability, should be able to work. Counselors guide clients through service programs and offer benefits and support that they need to reach their employment and career goals. This includes Adult Career and Continuing Education Services - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR), workshops, job placement, and more.

New York State Office for the Aging
2 Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12223-1251
Toll free number is (800) 342-9871

New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
44 Holland Avenue
Albany, NY 12229-0001
Main phone (866) 946-9733

New York State School for the Blind
2A Richmond Avenue
Batavia, NY 14020
(877) 877-697-7382

New York Society for the Deaf (NYSD)
161 William Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10038
(212) 777-3900

Paralyzed Veterans of America, New York Chapter
New York VA Regional Office
245 W. Houston St., Rm 212A
New York, NY 10014
(212) 807-3114

United Cerebral Palsy of New York City
Address is 80 Maiden Lane – 8th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Call (877) UCP-CONNECT, ext. 720 for information.


By Jon McNamara














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