Important information about COVID-19 and your HRA benefits

Important information about COVID-19 and your HRA benefits

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.
  • New: If you receive Cash Assistance and have lost your job or had a change in your income, you do not need to submit a new application. Please submit documents that prove the change to your income. Get more information about the documents you can use and the ways to submit your documents for Cash Assistance.
  • Apply for SNAP online at or by smart phone 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.
    Note: If you have to recertify your SNAP benefits within the next 75 days, you cannot submit a Case Change on ACCESS HRA. Please click on the link below to learn how you can submit your documents to HRA. Learn more about the documents you can use and the ways to submit your documents for SNAP benefits
  • 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
      P.O. 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 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

Learn more about what you can do on ACCESS HRA:
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For the safety of clients and staff, HRA is taking the following actions to avoid the need for New Yorkers to visit HRA Offices until further notice:

  • All in-person HRA appointments are cancelled. You will get a text or email from HRA letting you know your next steps.

  • Important Information for Households with Recertifications ending on August 31, 2020:

    If your Cash Assistance (CA) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will expire on August 31, 2020, you should submit a recertification form. If you do not, we will extend your recertification for six months, after which you will need to recertify. If you would like to continue getting benefits.
  • Important Information for Households with Recertifications ending on September 30, 2020:

    If your benefits are scheduled to expire on or after September 30, 2020, you must submit a recertification form if you would like to continue getting benefits.

    Please check ACCESS HRA for more information about your recertification schedule.
  • Your Cash Assistance (CA) case will stay open even if you do not:
    • Go to an HRA appointment, including child support or child care services (assessments will be done over the phone, if possible).
    • Go to an HRA work or training assignment (even if you are or were sanctioned).
  • Your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) case will stay open even if you do not:
    • Complete your eligibility interview in person if one was scheduled.
    • Meet the Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) work requirements
  • Note: you should STILL return your completed CA and SNAP recertifications and can do so online at or by mobile phone using the free ACCESSHRA app.

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

On March 27th, 2020, the federal CARES Act authorized a one-time payment of $1,200 to certain individuals. While many people will receive their payments through direct deposit or mailed checks, those who were not required to file a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 will need to take additional steps.

According to the IRS, if you don't file taxes, use the "Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here" application to provide information to receive your payment. You should use this application if:

  • You are a citizen or a non-citizen with a Social Security Number;
  • You did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples). This includes people who had no income. Or
  • You weren't required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons.

If you receive the below benefits, the IRS already has your information and you will receive $1,200. If you have qualifying children under age 17, you can use the "Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here" application to claim the $500 payment per child.

  • Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits
  • Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits

For more information, please visit the IRS website.

UPDATED 8/24/2020:

Act now! You can still get the $500 Economic Impact Payment for your children if you haven't already received it, or filed for it, and:

(1) You get Social Security retirement, survivors or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, Veteran's Affairs or Railroad Retirement benefits;

(2) You did not file a 2019 or 2018 tax return;

(3) You have an eligible child under age 17; and

(4) You did not already enter information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool for yourself and at least one child.

Apply today! Visit to use the IRS Non-Filer Tool. The deadline to file is September 30, 2020.

Already filed for your Economic Impact Payment? The IRS will issue you a payment in October. 

For more information, see:

SSI/SSD Recipient Stimulus Payments

SSI recipients with no qualifying children do not need to take any action in order to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. The payments will be automatic.

SSI recipients who have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment. They should now go to the IRS's webpage and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here section to provide their information. By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. If SSI beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait until later to receive their $500 per qualifying child.

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.


During the COVID-19 emergency, Medicaid cases with authorization that ends in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November 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. 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.


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 Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) was extended and is still accepting applications until August 31, 2020.
  • All Fair Fares offices are closed until further notice. You can still apply for Fair Fares NYC online.
  • NYS Family Courts are limiting service to emergency court hearing parts. These include Domestic Violence, Child Welfare, Juvenile Delinquency, Emergency Custody and Visitation and child support violation petitions. All existing scheduled court proceedings, except those in emergency parts, will be adjourned.
  • The Child Support Customer Service Walk-in Center and Borough Offices are closed until further notice. Please email inquiries to; 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.
  • You can restore your Cash Assistance grant and Medicaid if you have a Child Support sanction by calling 929-221-7656 or emailing to let us know that you will comply with the child support program. Give your name, case number, and contact information, and state that you will comply with the child support program.
  • For information on how to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, please visit the City's COVID-19 Information page.

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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