547 River Street, Troy, New York 12180

Temporary Assistance is temporary help for needy men, women and children. Temporary Assistance encompasses both Family Assistance and the Safety Net Program.
Non-Parent Caregivers Caring For Children

Family Assistance (FA)
Family Assistance (FA) provides cash assistance to needy families that include a minor child living with a parent (including families where both parents are in the household) or a caretaker relative. FA operates under federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines.

Under FA, eligible adults are limited to receiving benefits for a total of 60 months in their lifetime, including months of TANF-funded assistance granted in other states. Once this limit is reached, that adult and all members of his or her FA household are ineligible to receive any more FA benefits. The months need not be consecutive, but rather each individual month in which TANF-funded benefits are received is included in the lifetime count. The counting of this 60-month limit began in December 1996 in accordance with the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.

Parents and other adult relatives who can work must be working or involved in work-like activities. Parents are also responsible for cooperating with the local department of social services in locating any absent parent. Non-cooperation without good cause could result in lower benefits.

In addition, all applicants for assistance are screened for substance abuse to determine the necessity of rehabilitation and treatment.

Emergency Assistance is designed to provide low-income households with assistance in meeting needs such as evictions, utility disconnections, emergency fuel needs and homelessness, without receiving public assistance on a full time basis.

Safety Net Assistance (SNA)
If you are not eligible for other assistance programs, you may be eligible for SNA. SNA is for:

  • Single adults
  • Childless couples
  • Children living apart from any adult relative
  • Families of persons abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Families of persons refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment or treatment
  • Persons who have exceeded the 60-month limit on assistance
  • Aliens who are eligible for temporary assistance, but are not eligible for federal reimbursement

Generally, you can receive cash SNA for a maximum of two years in a lifetime. After that, if you are eligible for SNA, it is provided in non-cash form, such as a two party check or a voucher. In addition, non-cash SNA is provided for:

  • Families of persons abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Families of persons refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment or treatment

My Benefits
Beginning May 30, 2008 anyone in New York State will be able to visit a new website, mybenefits.ny.gov to find out if whether they might qualify for SNAP: get an estimate of their Earned Income Tax Credits, Child and Dependent Care Credits; and find out about other programs designed to help low-income working households help make ends meet. It will also tell clients where and how to apply for these programs.
How to apply for SNAP

Special Investigations Unit

The Special Investigations Unit investigates all manner of welfare fraud. Investigators look into allegations of fraud in Public Assistance, Medicaid, Home Energy Assistance as well as other programs administered by the Department of Social Services.

Investigators work closely with local police agencies as well as state authorities and the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office.

In addition, when staff detects irregularities in the application process, the Special Investigations Unit will conduct a Front End Detection investigation. This process is designed to prevent an applicant from committing fraud before it can occur.

Anyone with information regarding welfare fraud should call the Welfare Fraud Hotline at 518-266-7942.