Oswego County public aid programs.

The county of Oswego does offer public aid to very low income residents that are in a crisis. The resources, such as Temporary Assistance (TA) or utility bill help from HEAP, are meant to fill a short term need. Any type of support from the county is arranged with self-sufficiency services. This is a requirement to receiving help, as the resident needs to do their part to gain independence.

The main food resources are the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) SNAP food stamps, summer meals for children, WIC, and free school lunches. Each of this has a different goal, and more details on them are below.

Families that enroll into food stamps will receive monthly electronic benefits on an EBT card. The person can then use the card to shop for groceries at retail stores in Oswego County. The amount of public aid given to them by SNAP depends on income and size of the household, among other factor.

Children that are out of school during the summer can receive a meal from the Oswego Department of Social Services and its partners. This benefit will feed them at local churches, charities, and other locations. It ensure that the child has a source of nutrition during long breaks away from school.

Free school lunches are used by hundreds of families in Oswego. This is a major public assistance program in New York. The student from a low income household will receive a USDA approved meal, which will help them obtain the nutrition they need for learning.

WIC, or Women, Infants, Children, offers free formula and nutritious foods to low-income pregnant or postpartum women. The publicly funded program is also for infants and children up to age five. It will promote good health among these vulnerable groups. It provides free food or baby formula when they need it the most.

Public assistance that offers cash grants

Oswego County cash aid is from Temporary Assistance as well as programs such as HEAP. They do have certain bills they focus on paying, but each combines government grants with employment resources.




TA, or Temporary Assistance for Permanent Change, is for low income women, men, single parents and children. It helps pay for certain bills (such as medical, food, or rent) for those that are unemployed or unable to work. It can also support those that live on a very low income, even if they have a job.

Oswego County DSSS will offer grants as part of this public program. Social workers will also partner with the individual to help them achieve self-sufficiency. It touches upon Personal Responsibility, employment, budgeting, and other counseling. All barriers that lead to the reason for TA in the first place need to be addressed by the participant.

The disabled in Oswego can look into assistance from SSI disability or the State Supplement Program. There will be grants given to the blind, aged and other disabled individuals. This statewide public assistance program is combined with the federal resource known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Safety Net Assistance is another cash program. It is known as SNA in Oswego. This public aid is for single individuals, those that are childless, Oswego families that have exceeded the 60-month limit on TA assistance above, and others. SNA may assist when all other options have been used up by the resident. In general, it is a last resort and is only for very low income residents.

There is always a demand for heating bill help in Oswego County. HEAP can meet this request. The benefit is for the very low income with expensive monthly energy bills. Another option from DSS is the public aid from the HEAP Emergency Benefit. This is for those households faced with a loss of electricity or heat. Or maybe they are out of fuel or oil and need an emergency delivery, and that can  be arranged too.

Social Services also process applications for Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement. This can either repair, or in rare case provide the very low income family with a new furnace. It also is for seniors in Oswego County, as the lack of heat can sometimes lead to a major health crisis.

Some of the main public health care programs in Oswego include Medicaid, CHIP for children, and affordable medications from a free discount card.

Medicaid is a state and federal government program for families that are uninsured and who can't afford to pay for medical bills on their own. DSS will arrange care as part of Medicaid. Immunizations, physicals, check ups and more are done.




Prescription drugs can be acquired using the NYPS card. This will save Oswego families money. The amount will vary based on the type of medication needed, but the card is free to use and sign up for.

CHIP is used to provide low cost medical care to children and teenagers. This public funded program uses state and federal funds. It is more available then say Medicaid, and the Department of Social Services even offers this to more moderate income families in Oswego County.

The DSS office in Oswego County is at 100 Spring St, Mexico, New York. Dial (315) 963-5000 for more information or to apply for these public benefits. Or a social worker may have referrals to other programs.


By Jon McNamara

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