Public and government aid Niagara County.

Thousands of lower income Niagara County residents rely on public aid from the Social Services Department to meet their basic needs. The goal of the county though is to direct struggling or unemployed individuals to programs such as job training, employment, and long term self-sufficiency. Some of the government benefits offered to income qualified families can include HEAP for paying utility bills, free or low cost food, medical bill assistance and much more.

Cash be provided as part of TANF – Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. This is for very low income families in the county. Any public aid is only offered for at most 5 years and is focused on families with children. Note that childless couples, single persons and people who have exhausted all of their federal TANF benefits can still get help from the Safety Net Assistance. This is paid for by Niagara County and state of New York funding. For details on these options can be found below.
Lockport Office, 20 East Avenue, Lockport, NY, call (716) 278-8400
Niagara Falls Office, 301 10th Street, Niagara Falls, NY, telephone number is (716) 278-8400

SNAP food stamps are also administered by the Niagara County Department of Social Services. It is run in partnership with the federal government USDA and state agencies as well, such as the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.

The objective is to assist low-income people, children and entire families. Funds and vouchers from the government are issued and can be used to help beneficiaries buy the groceries and food they need for good health.

While income conditions are in place, many people that receive SNAP in Niagara County tend to be working families, the disabled, persons living on fixed incomes, and the elderly. Benefits, or so called vouchers, are provided to families on an electronic card that is used like an ATM card and accepted at most grocery stores in Niagara County New York. The office to apply at or get more information on this public benefit is 301 10th Street, Niagara Falls, NY. Or call (716) 278-8400.

Medical care is available as part of Medicaid. This is government health insurance for low-income people who are unable to pay for their medical bills on their own. Eligibility for this benefit is based on household income, their assets and other resources. Staff from the social service department may also direct clients to Family Health Plus. In some cases Medical Transportation is available to Medicaid recipients who need a ride to an appointment. Call 1-866-753-4430.




Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP can help with paying heating and other utility bills. Applications are processed from Niagara County Social Services offices. This public assistance program usually opens for applications during the November timeframe. Residents, especially seniors, can also call the local Office for the Aging office at (716) 438-4016 in order to apply for HEAP.

Grants and credits are available for low income, eligible households with a focus on seniors and the disabled.  It is offered as a onetime payment for basic or emergency needs.

The crisis, or emergency component, is paid out to all income eligible households in Niagara County that have a shut off, disconnection notice or that are low on fuel. The regular, or basic, is more for ongoing payments. In either case the household apply for heating bill help would have to present proof that there are very little resources to pay any late bill to their vendor. The money is paid to your utility provider and not to the person that applied for assistance. Social Services also works with other non-profits on energy bill programs. Some of them include.
Niagara County Office for Aging, call 716-438-4016
Catholic Charities and churches - 716-282-2351
NiaCAP (weatherization program): 716-285-9681 or 716-433-6632
Non-profit Community Mission Inc. - 716-285-3403
American Red Cross is an option too. Telephone - 716-299-0900

Day care assistance is available as well. If you are a two-parent family or a single parent with both parents either in job training or working outside the home, you may be eligible for aid as part of NPA Daycare Assistance. Other public benefit that may be an option is Work Relief Program. Both of these will pay a portion of a qualified Niagara County New York families child care expenses. Call (716) 439-7656, or dial 1-800-701-4543 for a listing of providers.



By Jon McNamara

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