Important information about COVID-19 and your HRA benefits

Important COVID-19 Information

Need Assistance?

If you need assistance, you don't need to come to an HRA Office. You can:

  • New: Apply for Cash Assistance or Emergency One Time Assistance with the ACCESS HRA website and mobile app. An HRA staff member will call you to complete your eligibility interview.
  • Apply for SNAP online at nyc.gov/accesshra or by smartphone with the ACCESS HRA app. An interview may not be required, if we need additional information, HRA will contact you. Please remember to submit as many documents as you can using the ACCESS HRA Mobile app.
  • New: If you receive SNAP benefits and have lost your job or had a change in your income, please submit a Case Change using ACCESS HRA. You do not need to submit a new application. You will need to submit documents to prove the change you report.
  • Apply for SNAP or Cash Assistance by mail. Send Cash Assistance applications to the open Job Center location in your borough. Send SNAP applications to:
    • HRA/Family Independence Administration
      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
      Mail Application Referral Unit
      PO. Box 29197
      Brooklyn, NY 11201-9956
  • Apply for a Special Grant online through ACCESS HRA if you are a Cash Assistance client.
  • Get food assistance at a food pantry near you. Visit the Get Food NYC map for locations.
  • Use ACCESS HRA online or download the ACCESS HRA app to view your case information.
  • Apply for child support services by downloading an application at childsupport.ny.gov OR calling the NYS child support helpline at 888-208-4485 to have an application mailed to you.
  • Please only visit an HRA Office if your needs cannot be met through ACCESS HRA or over the phone. Many HRA locations have consolidated. Consult the HRA Locations page for more information. The Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC) office will now close at 5 PM until further notice.
  • All Cash Assistance and SNAP applicants that have been approved for benefits will receive an EBT card in the mail. If your EBT card has not yet arrived, you can go to the Brooklyn OTC site for your permanent card, or one of seven open center locations for a temporary card that will have all benefits available until the EBT card arrives.
    View the list of locations

Service Information 

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, many HRA locations have consolidated until further notice. If your needs cannot be met by ACCESS HRA, call 311 or consult the HRA Locations page for more information.

Important Notice – No Mandatory Dispute Resolution Appointment

If you are Cash Assistance recipient, the Human Resources Administration (HRA) may have sent you a notice for a Mandatory Dispute Resolution (MDR) appointment.

The notice was sent to you in error. Please disregard the notice.

The appointment that was scheduled for you has been cancelled. You DO NOT have to appear for that appointment. No negative action is being taken as a result of the notice. You may still receive other notices about the Fair Hearing you requested. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you have any questions, please call (718) 557-1399.

Important Information about Recertifications

  • Recertification Extension: Starting March 1, 2021, if you receive a Cash Assistance or SNAP  recertification notice by mail or an ACCESS HRA alert that you need to recertify, it means you did not qualify for an extension, and you must submit your recertification or your benefits will stop. You can use ACCESS HRA, fax, mail, or a drop box at open centers to submit your recertification.  Please make sure that we have your correct phone number.  You can check it and update it on ACCESS HRA website or the ACCESS HRA Mobile App. Learn about the ways you can submit your recertification and supporting documents.

  • CA 6-month mailer and SNAP periodic report: There will be no negative actions taken for failing to return the SNAP periodic reports and Cash Assistance mailers due between March 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021. 

Expanded SNAP eligibility for college students during the COVID-19 emergency

During the COVID-19 emergency, there are new rules for the SNAP program which will allow more college students to get benefits.  

  • If you are a student eligible to participate in a state or federal work-study program, you may now also be eligible for SNAP, even if you aren’t currently employed in work-study.   
  • If your “expected family contribution” (EFC*) is $0, and you meet other SNAP eligibility requirements, you are eligible for SNAP. 

*Your EFC is found in your Student Aid Report and it is calculated based on information provided in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

These new SNAP eligibility rules will last until one month after the public health emergency from COVID-19 is officially lifted. If you are able to get benefits thanks to these new rules, your benefits will last until your next recertification even if the public health emergency is ended first. 

Department of Social Services COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Read the Department of Social Services (DSS) COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Burial Assistance

To address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, DSS/HRA issued an emergency rule:

  • Increasing the burial allowance from $900 to $1,700 and increasing the cap on burial costs from $1,700 to $3,400.
  • Extending the timeframe for when you can apply to 120 days from the date of the individual‘s death.

Applications received on or after March 12, 2020, will be considered for the increased burial assistance allowance. All applications received will be reviewed regardless of immigration status

Federal Stimulus Payments: Economic Impact Payments

March 10, 2021: The content below reflects information about the first and second round Economic Impact Payments (stimulus payments). For information about any additional payments, please visit irs.gov/eip and continue to monitor the NYC Consumer and Worker Protection page.
 
If you did not receive a first or second stimulus payment and think you may be eligible, or did not receive the full payment amount, you may be eligible to obtain a stimulus payment by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 federal tax return. You can learn about NYC Free Tax Prep services to file your taxes and receive a stimulus payment(s) for free.
 
 
  
Important: If you received your Economic Impact Payment (stimulus payment) in paper form and do NOT have a bank or credit union account, you can avoid check cashing fees by opening an account. Note that some banks are temporarily offering to cash stimulus checks for free for non-account holders. Please check with your local bank or credit union to learn if this is available.
 
For more resources and free help, please visit the NYC Consumer and Worker Protection page.

Health Assistance Information

Visit HRA's Health Assistance page.

COVID-19 Easements

New Applications

Clients may attest to all elements of eligibility except Immigration Status and Identity, if immigration document does not also prove identity. Copies of documents that prove immigration/identity status should still be submitted. Do not submit original documents. If clients are unable to submit this documentation due to the COVID-19 Emergency, the application should still be submitted. Clients will be given an opportunity to submit the documents later. Clients whose citizenship status is not verified through data sources will also be given an opportunity to submit the documents later.

Clients do not need to provide proof of their Medicare application; this requirement is waived for the period of the COVID-19 emergency.

Call the HRA Medicaid Helpline at 888-692-6116 for more information. During the COVID-19 Emergency, applications may be submitted via fax to 917-639-0732.

Renewals

During the COVID-19 emergency, Medicaid cases with authorization that ends in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November December 2020 and January, February, March, April, May and June 2021 will be automatically extended. Any case that is closed for failure to renew or failure to provide documentation during COVID-19 will be re-opened and coverage restored to ensure no gap in coverage. Excess resources cases will be extended for 6 months. Surplus cases will be extended 6 months. See below for information regarding coverage for Surplus cases.

The renewal extension applies to all renewal cases including Office of Mail Renewal, MLTC, Nursing Home Eligibility, Medicare Savings Program, MBI-WPD (entitled to 6 months extended grace period if loss of employment), Stenson/Recipients who lose their SSI eligibility and Rosenberg/Recipients who lose their eligibility for cash assistance.

Surplus

If you met your surplus during the COVID-19 emergency, your coverage will be extended for 6 months. Clients who have a spend down and have been unable to submit a bill or payment due to the COVID-19 emergency should call the MICSA Surplus Helpline at 929-221-0835 and leave a voicemail with the following information.

  • Name
  • CIN
  • Phone Number
  • If submitting a bill, please provide the name of the provider, the date of the service, and the amount of the bill.
  • If submitting a payment, please indicate the amount of the payment. Please do not leave credit card information on the voicemail.
  • Clients will only receive a call back if additional information is needed.
  • If the requested information is provided, coverage will be extended for 6 months.

Other Important Information

  • All eviction proceedings are temporarily suspended by the courts until further notice. This means that you will not need to apply for back rent to stop an eviction until further notice.
  • All utility companies are temporarily suspending utility shut-offs until further notice. You do not need to apply for Emergency Assistance (a one-shot deal) because your electricity, gas or oil for heat, will not be turned off for non-payment, even if you get a notice that your service will end, until further notice
  • All Fair Hearings will be done over the phone until further notice.
  • The New York State Court System opened virtually on June 10 for pending child support cases. For more information, go to http://www.nycourts.gov/. Family Court is accepting support establishment and modification petitions, stipulated agreements, and motion requests through EDDS (the court’s electronic document delivery system on its website), by U.S. mail addressed to the appropriate county Family Court, or by telephoning 212-343-1122 (LIFT), 646-877-6050 or 332-215-5389 (OCSS), or 646-386-5299 (Family Court) for assistance.
  • For pending cases, the Family Court is trying to reach parties by telephone, email, or mail to notify them of an upcoming hearing. Litigants with a pending hearing can call the Court, and the Court will schedule a hearing.
  • All Child Support offices are closed until further notice. Please email inquiries to dcse.cseweb@dfa.state.ny.us; call the New York State Child Support Helpline at 888-208-4485, or mail us at NYC OCSS, P.O. Box 830, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013. Be sure to include your name, case number, and contact information.

Help New Yorkers Stay Informed about HRA Services During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Download HRA's COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit to help us spread the word about services that clients can access without leaving home through the ACCESS HRA website and mobile app, along with other important announcements about service changes. Thanks for helping us share this important information.

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