Please refer to the contact information for general assistance:
Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.
Prior Community Update Weekly Bulletins
If you would like to reference a specific prior communication, please click on the links below:
Community-wide Conference Calls
Here are the most recent Community-wide Conference Call recordings. For prior meetings, please refer to the recording links in the emails within the "Prior Community Update Weekly Bulletins" drop-down.
Use Covid-19 as the password to listen to the below recordings.
Comptroller Service Window Re-opened
As of September 7, 2021, the service window for the New York City Office of the Comptroller located at 1 Centre Street, New York, New York 10007 will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 AM to 1 PM.
HASA Office Locations Open to the Public
Eleven of the twelve HASA office locations have reopened to the public. The Hamilton HASA office remains closed to the public until further notice. The offices that are open can provide clients with all services, including, but not limited to:
Clients should call the HASA ServiceLine at (212) 971-0626 to get the location of centers, receive help with other services, and additional information. The HASA ServiceLine is in operation Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM.
NYS Department of Labor Updates
On September 5, 2021, several Federal unemployment benefit programs expired across the country, in accordance with federal law.
The Federal benefit programs that expired are:
“Regular” Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits from the NYS Department of Labor will continue to be paid to eligible claimants even though these four Federal programs are ending. To be considered eligible for UI after September 5, 2021, a claimant would need to be unemployed AND be in the first 26 weeks (or 104 effective days) of benefits. Claimants can find their effective days remaining for UI benefits in their online Payment History. Because FPUC is ending, any weeks a claimant is eligible to receive UI benefits after September 5, 2021, will no longer include the additional $300.
Claimants will be contacted by the NYS Department of Labor through emails and text messages to inform them of which program they are currently in and whether they will be eligible to continue receiving benefits after the federal benefit expiration date.
The US Department of Labor (USDOL) has asked States to accept new PUA claims for a period of 30-days after September 5, 2021. The NYS Department of Labor will accept those claims, evaluate for eligibility, and backdate where appropriate, as required by USDOL.
Department of Labor State Assistance
Legislation to aid people applying for unemployment by providing them with information for housing, food and utility assistance was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The new law will require the State Department of Labor to provide people filing for unemployment benefits or certifying their claims with additional information on support for mortgage, rental, food and utility bills. The Department's web portal will include additional information on State assistance, including information on programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Home Energy Assistance Program as well as federal mortgage relief.
Non-Citizen Benefits Eligibility
As a helpful reminder, below is an overview of non-citizen benefit access quick facts:
Fair Fares Updates and Outreach Materials
While Fair Fares offices remain closed due to the pandemic, clients can check eligibility and submit an application online here.
To request a replacement card for a card that is damaged or not working, or to request an immediate refund on an expired card that has money remaining on the card, please mail such cards to:
Fair Fares NYC
PO Box 7099
New York, NY
The following information should be included in the envelope with the returned card:
Organizations can order Fair Fares outreach materials - including palm cards, brochures, and posters through the Design and Print Ordering System (DPOS) website here, after registering on the login page.
HRA Center Reopenings and Medicaid/SNAP Information
The Chinatown Medicaid Office, located at 115 Chrystie Street in the Manhattan, is open as of September 20, 2021.
HRA’s Medicaid clients who have questions about their case or their Medicaid card or who wish to report case changes, such as change of address, can call the HRA Medicaid Helpline at 1-888-692-6116. Pursuant to a federal waiver, Medicaid easements allowing for applicant attestation of all elements of eligibility except identity and immigration status are in place until the end of the year and Medicaid renewals due between now and December 31, 2021 will automatically be renewed.
The Coney Island SNAP Office, located at 2857 West 8th Street in Brooklyn, opened to clients on September 20, 2021. With this center opening all SNAP centers have now reopened.
SNAP clients who are unable to transact with the agency using our remote online options such as ACCESS HRA can utilize the Centers that are currently open to serve clients in person or call Infoline at (718) 557-1339 to find other ways they can apply, including a telephone submission.
HRA locations will continue to follow best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19, and we will continue to encourage clients to avoid unnecessary trips to our offices by using our remote or online services through ACCESS HRA. Masks will be required in all locations, and self-service drop boxes for completed Cash Assistance (CA), SNAP and HEAP applications will be available at all CA and SNAP sites, in addition to the self-service PC banks and scanners available at the majority of HRA SNAP and Job Centers. Medicaid applications from individuals age 65 and older or who have a disability can be dropped off in marked drop boxes at Medical Assistance Program “MAP” (formerly known as Medical Insurance and Community Services Administration or MICSA) locations and may also be faxed to 917-639-0732.
Morrisania Medicaid Office Closure
The Morrisania Medicaid Office, located at 1225 Gerard Avenue in the Bronx, will close permanently on August 13th. This Medicaid Office has already been closed to the public due to the pandemic. The Rider Medicaid Office, located at 305 Rider Avenue will continue to be open to the public, and the Fordham Medicaid Office, located at 2541 Bainbridge Avenue, is scheduled to reopen on August 9th
HRA’s Medicaid clients who have questions about their case or their Medicaid card or who wish to report case changes, such as change of address, can call the HRA Medicaid Helpline at 1-888-692-6116. Pursuant to a federal waiver, Medicaid easements allowing for applicant attestation of all elements of eligibility except identity and immigration status are in place until the end of the year and Medicaid renewals due between now and December 31, 2021 will automatically be renewed.
Obtaining Temporary CIN for Clients without Social Security Number
For clients applying for benefits who do not have a social security number, the social security number of the eldest child will be used to identify the case. When an application is initially submitted through ACCESS HRA, the system is not yet able to connect the case using the SSN of the eldest child. In these cases, when a client needs to access a case before processing has begun, they can obtain a temporary CIN as follows (this process is for use by CBOs only at this time and is not available for applicants directly):
When submitting a request, CBOs should include the following information;
Calls from HRA to Clients
As a reminder, when clients are receiving calls from HRA – from Infoline or for a CA/SNAP interview – there are four telephone numbers that the calls may come from:
Infoline and Third-Party Authorization
In order to provide case management support or advocacy, advocates and caseworkers are allowed to join HRA clients or applicants on phone calls with Infoline. HRA Infoline representatives are allowed to share information over the phone with both the client (or applicant) and the third party, if the client (or applicant) provides the representative with verbal consent to do so
Clients or applicants may also complete a fillable PDF of the HRA third-party authorization form that can be signed digitally / electronically using Adobe or other third-party software. Download the form. Completed third-party authorization forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 212-331-4685.
Once a third-party authorization form is on file, Infoline agents are able to reference these forms and can provide case updates to a third-party representative as authorized by a client.
Reporting Changes in Income for SNAP or Cash Assistance
In accordance with federal and state law, clients are required to submit changes in income to HRA. On our SNAP Frequently Asked Questions, we include important information about the rules for changes which must be reported 10 days after the end of the month in which the change happened. Some examples include:
Clients should not submit a new application to report a change in income. For both CA and SNAP, clients should report income changes, including the loss of a job via a case change request in ACCESS HRA. Documentation to support the change may include paystubs, an employer letter, a layoff/termination letter or form, or an attestation of loss of employment from a client when one can-not be obtained from their employer.
Reporting Requirements for Changes in Residence
Individuals are required to receive public assistance benefits in the county where they reside. Clients who may travel outside of the district for a limited period of time are permitted to do so without reporting a change. Those who plan to change their residence need to first alert the district they have been living in. That district will note the change and close the benefits case accordingly, with that district maintaining responsibility for benefits for the month following the month of the move. Clients may then file with the new local district office for public assistance benefits once they have moved.
The five boroughs of New York City comprise one social services district. The remainder of New York State is divided into 57 Local Departments of Social Service (LDSS). View the listing of all LDSS offices for New York State.
Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Increase Details
We have been receiving a number of questions regarding the upcoming Federal SNAP increase (effective October 1, 2021) and the simultaneous end of the COVID SNAP maximum benefit increase of 15% as well as the upcoming end of the emergency SNAP allotments. In response to those questions, please see the below information on the Federal SNAP changes.
In March 2020, SNAP benefits began being supplemented with emergency allotments each month, so that households that were not receiving the maximum benefit for their household size began receiving a supplement to bring them to that level it. In April 2021, the emergency allotment amounts were modified so that the minimum monthly SNAP emergency allotment was $95, even for households already receiving the maximum benefit allotment. These emergency allotments – with the minimum amount of $95 – will continue for one month beyond the end of the federal public health emergency. The public health emergency is currently set to end in October 2021, with emergency allotments ending in November 2021.
SNAP benefit increases:
Beginning in January 2021, the maximum SNAP benefit amount was increased temporarily by 15%, and this temporary increase will expire on September 30, 2021. However, effective October 1, 2021, permanent changes to the Thrifty Food Plan (that the US Department of Agriculture uses to calculate SNAP benefits) will go into effect, resulting in a sizeable increase in the maximum benefit amounts by household size.
Through the end of September 2021, both emergency allotments and the 15% benefit increase will be in effect. For the months of October and November 2021, both emergency allotments and the permanent SNAP increase will be in effect. Beginning in December, emergency allotments will no longer be issued (unless the public health emergency is extended), but the permanent SNAP increase will remain in effect.
For example: Client A is a household of 1 who receives a SNAP benefit of $121 per month. However, since Spring 2020, client A has also been receiving a SNAP emergency allotment benefit, bringing them up to the SNAP maximum allotment for their household. This amount was $204 from Spring 2020 until January 2021, and $234 starting in January 2021. When the emergency allotment ends, their baseline benefit will be $121 again.
After October 1, client A will begin to receive a SNAP benefit of $157, which is $36 higher than pre-pandemic SNAP levels. Even though this is nearly a 30% increase from their original benefit, the amount is still less than their emergency allotment.
Please refer to this chart for additional details about the federal changes.
Federal Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) Time Limit Waiver Extended
The federal ABAWD (Able-bodied Adult Without Dependents) time limit is a statute that limits an ABAWD client to 3 months of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in a 36-month period unless the individual is working or participating in certain employment and training activities. USDA has approved OTDA’s request to waive the ABAWD time limit in all areas of the State for the period of October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022. Therefore, ABAWD clients will continue to not be subject to the ABAWD requirements through September 30, 2022. New York States waiver of the ABAWD time limit was previously due to expire September 30, 2021.
Individuals who are not meeting ABAWD rules will still be eligible for SNAP, and anyone who lost eligibility already can regain it without meeting the ABAWD requirements.
SNAP Emergency Allotment
As it has in previous months, the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) will issue an emergency SNAP supplement to households who are issued SNAP benefits for August through November 2021. The emergency allotment will be the difference between their budgeted allotment and the maximum allotment for their household size or $95, whichever is greater. Further information is available here. As a reminder, these benefits are not on a regular schedule. If clients want to know when their emergency SNAP allotments are available, they can check their available SNAP balance at https://otda.ny.gov/workingfamilies/ebt/.
Answers to many questions about SNAP Emergency Allotments for clients and providers can be found in this document.
New Pilot Program for SNAP Access for New Yorkers Being Released from State Prisons
HRA has received requested waivers from the State OTDA and the USDA allowing individuals incarcerated in State prisons to begin the benefits application process while incarcerated, including conducting application interviews, which is currently prohibited by New York State regulation. This common-sense reform, which the State is allowing us to implement at two State prisons (Queensboro Correctional Facility and Edgecombe Residential Treatment), will ensure individuals who were formerly incarcerated are better supported as they re-enter society. Individuals leaving State prisons will now be able to connect with the benefits they need pre-release, such as food assistance, rather than having to first begin the application process after release. This pilot was developed in partnership with the National Executive Council (NEC) at Columbia University’s Center for Justice and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. HRA will continue its work with the NEC during the implementation of the pilot.
Time Period for Accessing Benefits
In response to questions received on our weekly call, below is information confirming the length of time that benefits remain available in accordance with federal and State requirements:
SNAP Benefits are issued to an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) SNAP Benefits account on the same date each month. If benefits remain unused on an EBT SNAP Benefits account for 365 consecutive days, the benefits will fall into expungement status. This means that any SNAP Benefits that have been available in an account for at least 365 days will be expunged (removed). Expunged SNAP Benefits cannot be replaced.
Cash benefits are available to the recipient as long as there is activity in the account. If there is no account activity for 90 days, the remaining benefits are expunged without notice.
Regardless of activity, a cash benefit must be entirely withdrawn by the recipient within 180 days of its availability date. The remaining balance of the 180-day cash benefit will be expunged from the account without notice to the recipient.
How to Apply for Cash Assistance
Those unable to file an application using the methods described above may call Infoline to set up an appointment to complete an application over the phone.
Documents can be submitted in the following ways:
Both SNAP and Cash Assistance applications can be accessed on the "Forms" page of the OTDA website.
Through an Executive Order initially and now with a waiver, the interview portion of the CA application process has been conducted by telephone. Download the flyer (in English and Spanish) for clients regarding the public benefits changes that we have described.
How to Apply for and Recertify SNAP
Those unable to file an application or recertify using the methods described above may call Infoline to set up an appointment to complete an application over the phone.
We are no longer authorized to provide extensions for recertifications for SNAP, and therefore recertifications are resuming for all clients with cases due to recertify by July 31, 2021.
*When faxing or mailing documents please be sure to write the client’s name and case number on each page of the document to ensure accurate indexing.
One Shot Deals/Emergency Grants
Eligibility for a One-Shot Deal is not contingent on being sued for rent arrears. Please reference and share the One Shot Deal fact sheet, which makes it clear that an eviction case is not required to receive a One Shot Deal. This has been reinforced with staff through the issuance of a policy bulletin and will be included as a reminder in our mandatory March monthly training. In September, HPD shared this information with their citywide landlord contacts. Other limitations on the provision of these grants are set by State statute and regulations, including the repayment agreement requirement that we have asked the State to waive during the continuing public health emergency.
Clients applying for a One Shot Deal, or active clients requesting a special grant, for rent arrears or both rent and utility arrears, will be required by the State to apply for the State's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) for as long as the ERAP funds remain available. DSS will encourage all applicants to apply for ERAP for rent arrears (and utility arrears if combined with rent arrears) as these funds do not require repayment or recoupment. Other Special Grant Requests will be processed as usual for expenses such as utility arrears without any rent arrears, moving costs, storage expenses, security deposits, and furniture allowances.
Not all emergency grants require repayment. As part of the application process, if rent arrears or utility arrears are identified, clients are asked to sign a State-required repayment agreement at the time of application in ACCESS HRA. We do so because when the application is initially filed, HRA does not know which category of assistance the client will ultimately be eligible for, and we want to avoid the delay of having to ask clients to sign the required repayment agreement at the end of the process when an eligibility decision has been made and time is of the essence to prevent an eviction. In order to make this clear to clients during the application process, we have included the below clarifying information to the grant applications:
"Please note that you will have to review and e-sign the repayment agreement before submitting your application. Not all emergency grants require repayment. If you are eligible for a grant, the notice you receive will let you know whether or not you need to repay."
In particular, clients receiving SSI are not required to repay emergency grants. Other clients may also be eligible for non-recoupable rent arrears or utility arrears payments under State law. These determinations are made upon review of the full application.
Although we had requested a waiver, to date, there have been no State easements regarding the repayment of One-Shot Deals (OSD). The repayment of OSD's is mandated at 12 months for payments related to shelter, and 24 months for payments related to utilities.
Clients who believe they fall into a category in which they should not be required to repay their OSD – even if the determination is that they are required to pay – can request a fair hearing. Clients who received an OSD for an amount that differed from their requested amount are also entitled to a fair hearing. However, repayment schedules and amounts for OSD's are set by State statute and cannot be addressed by a fair hearing.
In response to concerns raised by community partners, as of April 21, we are now printing the names of clients on the check stub for One Shot Deal rental payments so that housing advocates are able to link the check with the client. This was done previously on checks for recurring payments and is now available for OSD checks as well.
Income Savings Plan
The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has extended the waiver that provides for OTDA to suppress Income Savings Plan (ISP) notices, and DSS to apply good cause universally for clients who do not contribute to the savings plan through September 30, 2021.
On March 9, the Supreme Court agreed to the Biden administration's request to dismiss the pending case challenging the new public charge rule which had been issued by the Trump Administration. With this new development, the public charge rule is now blocked nationwide.
Updates can be found at nyc.gov/publiccharge.
SUNY/CUNY Student SNAP Eligibility Expansion
The State OTDA, working with the State University of NY (SUNY) and the City University of NY (CUNY), has expanded SNAP eligibility to income- eligible college students engaged at least half-time in a career or technical education (CTE) program at a SUNY or CUNY college, as well as any of the 10 Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) in New York State. In order to facilitate the application process, students will be provided with a Student Verification of Enrollment form (form LDSS-5172) from their college to accompany their application for SNAP benefits. If the college does not provide the form, the blank form is available from HRA and should be submitted to the college admissions office to be completed. Download the LDSS-5172-E form.
Completed forms should be returned to HRA. In lieu of the completed Student Verification form, students can provide a signed letter from SUNY, CUNY or an EOC stating that the applicant is enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying CTE or EOC program. Learn more on the CUNY website.
In addition, a s we reported previously, the Federal Emergency Relief Act temporarily expands the SNAP student eligibility rules by amending the allowable exemptions to the work rule in two additional ways:
Beginning on January 16, 2021, students meeting the expanded criteria above are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Students must provide verification that they meet one of these new criteria. This is a temporary further expansion of the student eligibility criteria for all students regardless of the program or school they are enrolled in.
These amended federal eligibility qualifications for students will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID–19 federal public health emergency is liftedStudents granted eligibility under these amended federal qualifications will maintain student eligibility until the next recertification regardless of whether the emergency declaration is lifted at any time during the certification period. More details about SNAP student eligibility are available on the OTDA SNAP website.
SNAP Simplified Application for Seniors
The SNAP simplified application for seniors is available for download on the "Forms" page of the OTDA website. The simplified form is LDSS 5166. The page does not indicate that this is the simplified form, so when applicants are looking for the application they need to know the form number or know to find it at the bottom of the SNAP section on the page. Download the form.
Clients, providers, and advocates can now call Infoline to request a paper copy of the Simplified SNAP application kit by mail. As a reminder, the simplified SNAP application can be used by households where:
Suspension of the Billing Process for SNAP, Cash Assistance and Medicaid Overpayment Cases
Billings for recovery of overpayments and repayable grants for SNAP, Cash Assistance and Medicaid remains stayed through October 17, 2021, which is the date of the current extension of the public health emergency. Where we are legally required to continue collection efforts and the case is approaching the Statute of Limitations, HRA is sending a payment request letter. Enforcement actions on judgments remains stayed until October 17, 2021.
Authorized Representative Forms for SNAP Applications
As a reminder, SNAP applications can be submitted by community organizations on behalf of clients by serving as an authorized representative for the client. Clients may authorize a representative to submit applications and communicate with HRA on their behalf.
To become an authorized representative, service providers will need to obtain a signed copy of the SNAP Authorized Representative Request Form and complete the application on the individual's behalf on ACCESS HRA by doing the following:
It is recommended, but not required, that all applicants/providers use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Authorized Representative Request Form (LDSS-4942) when designating an authorized representative. However, if the Authorized Representative form cannot be completed and submitted, the applicant/provider may write a letter with the relevant information from the form to designate an authorized representative.
Request for Extension of Current Waivers
HRA has requested an extension of the following waivers from NYS OTDA. These waivers are currently set to expire on September 30, 2021:
Benefit Card Assistance/Issuance of Replacement or Temporary CBIC Cards
Benefit cards are sent directly to clients by mail via the State's vendor. There is no need to come in to a service center to request a card or receive a replacement CBIC card. If an emergency card is needed for a new applicant who is eligible for expedited SNAP or an immediate needs grant, applicants can visit any open HRA center to request a Vault Card (temporary benefit card). Note that State photo cards cannot be issued in-person or through the mail for clients who never had their photo taken as part of the prior Automated Finger Imaging System (AFIS) process which has been eliminated by the State, a change for which we advocated.
Clients can request a replacement card from the State by calling EBT Customer Service at 888-328-6399 for account information or to request that a replacement Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card for SNAP or Cash Assistance be mailed. For anyone having difficulty accessing a replacement card by phone, cards can also be requested by setting up an online EBT account at https://www.connectebt.com/. Clients can use this account to request a replacement card, check card balance, review transaction history, change a PIN, and more.
For the purposes of proof of identity for receipt of benefits, HRA does not require a photo ID. New York State and New York City operate a public benefits eligibility process whereby if individuals can provide a Social Security Number and the correct name and date of birth, no additional identification documentation is required. In some cases, HRA can also accept an attestation from someone who knows the individual applying for benefits.
SNAP Eligibility – Assets
Under federal broad-based categorical eligibility, most SNAP households are not subject to a resource or asset test. The only income-eligible households that are subject to SNAP resource limits are households that contain individuals who are disqualified from receiving SNAP benefits due to an intentional program violation (IPV) or sanction, and households that contain an individual who is aged or has a disability and have gross income in excess of 200% of the federal poverty level. For these households, assets/resources for SNAP recipients must fall below the following limits:
For the purposes of SNAP eligibility, funds that could be made available for the purchase of food are considered assets, such as money in a bank account. Equity in a home is not considered money that is available for the purchase of food and is thus not counted in the asset calculation for SNAP eligibility.
Rental/Emergency Assistance AND Ongoing Cash Assistance Benefits
Clients can apply for emergency assistance grants as well as ongoing Cash Assistance through ACCESS HRA. To apply for Cash Assistance, a client does not need to apply for an emergency grant, but we do ask questions during the online application process in order to make sure that an emergency grant is not needed to ensure the financial security of the clients. Therefore, every ACCESS HRA Cash Assistance application starts with a series of emergency indicator questions.
Below are instructions for applying for Cash Assistance through ACCESS HRA. We encourage organizations to sign up for an ACCESS HRA training webinar for additional information on using our online tools. View the webinar options.
To apply for Cash Assistance or a one-time emergency grant (One Shot Deal), clients will need to take the following steps:
Clients with an active Cash Assistance case can submit a special grant request for rent or utility arrears via ACCESS HRA. To submit a Cash Assistance Special Grant Request, clients will need to:
Childcare for Cash Assistance Recipients
Recipients of Cash Assistance who are participating in an approved education or training program outside of the home, or are employed, may be eligible for childcare assistance. These needs are assessed at application and recertification. Clients who become employed or engaged outside of the home in between recertifications should take the following steps to apply for child care:
We have updated ACCESS HRA to guide applicants through the process and we also have information on our website.
Below are links to relevant information:
Automated Child Care Eligibility and Enrollment System (ACEE): Child care programs for HRA clients
Child Care Provider Search: Easy to use search tool to locate NYC contracted & non-contracted Child Care Providers & short list/filter based on client needs
Child Care Provider Enrollment Supplement
Storage Allowance/Grant for Cash Assistance Recipients
An allowance for storage of furniture and personal belongings is available under client circumstances involving temporary shelter, eviction or relocation as long as eligibility for Cash Assistance or Emergency Assistance is met. Applicants and clients can apply for storage assistance through ACCESS HRA. Applicants for a storage allowance are no longer required to provide three (3) estimates before payments can be made, but the request must meet certain storage size and cost requirements. Information below outlines these allowable costs and sizes:
|Household size||Size||2020 Max Rate|
|1+||5X5X4 – 100 cubic feet||$52.02|
|1+||5X5X8 – 200 cubic feet||$117.38|
|1+||5X10X8 – 400 cubic feet||$154.04|
|2+, 3+||5X15X8 – 600 cubic feet||$203.62|
|4+, 5+||10X10X8 – 800 cubic feet||$245.32|
|6+||10X15X8 – 1200 cubic feet||$432.06|
Additional information can also be found in the Special Grant Document Guide.
Temporary Expansion of SNAP Eligibility for College Students
In response to questions received on our weekly community briefing call, we have confirmed that the expansion of SNAP eligibility for students applies to both undergraduate and graduate students.
As a reminder, the Federal Emergency Relief Act temporarily expands the SNAP student eligibility rules by amending the allowable exemptions to the rule in two additional ways:
Beginning on January 16, 2021, students meeting the expanded criteria above are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Students must provide verification that they meet one of these new criteria.
These amended federal eligibility qualifications for students will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID–19 federal public health emergency is lifted.
Students granted eligibility under these amended federal qualifications will maintain student eligibility until the next recertification regardless of whether the emergency declaration is lifted at any time during the certification period.
HRA has shared this information with advocates, community providers, and elected officials in our weekly communications and on our weekly call. We have also posted information on our COVID-19 updates page on our website and on the ACCESS HRA homepage.
Information and guidance on the expansion of student eligibility has been included in mandatory training for all SNAP and Cash Assistance staff. HRA has also issued a Policy Bulletin informing all staff on these changes.
This is a temporary further expansion of the student eligibility criteria for all students regardless of the program or school they are enrolled in. However, as we reported in November, student eligibility was also extended for CUNY students participating in career or technical programs. CUNY students are receiving their Student Verification of Enrollment forms directly through their student account. CUNY is reviewing current enrollment status for all students. Those students who satisfy all of the SNAP requirements for a career and technical education exception will receive the Verification form in their student account. The Student Verification of Enrollment form must be submitted as supporting documentation with a SNAP application.
More details about SNAP student eligibility are available on the OTDA SNAP website.
SNAP Recertification via Telephone for Seniors
As a reminder, many seniors can recertify for SNAP benefits by telephone 24 hours a day if they receive the IVRS packet AND all adults in the household are aged 55 and over or have a disability, and have no earned income. The IVRS number for eligible SNAP participants is 866-761-8357.
We’ve confirmed with State OTDA that SNAP cases eligible to recertify using IVRS starting with July have had their certification period extended and this will continue for cases expiring through October. These cases will be extended for six months. Some clients may still receive recertification notices during this time so clients should be informed that these notices were issued in error due to the timing of the notices being released by the State. As a reminder, IVRS is available to households where:
There is no earned income in the household.
Cash Assistance Benefits Eligibility and Substance Use Disorders
We are still screening CA applicants for substance use issues, and, if needed, connecting them to remote telephonic substance use assessment and/or treatment. However, we have waived the requirements that would normally apply to clients in substance use treatment programs, and we are not taking negative case actions for noncompliance.
Clients may also receive Case Management services to support substance use treatment compliance, as well as other services such as medical and/or mental health services. HRA Customized Assistance Services (CAS), which oversees this program, is conducting proactive outreach to HRA clients receiving substance use treatment. CAS offers support with treatment, and with COVID-19 and other wellness related issues and provides referrals when appropriate.
Clients who complete qualifying substance use treatment programs and who owe child support arrears to NYC DSS may qualify for the Office of Child Support Services Parent Success Program, which can reduce their DSS child support debt. Clients can ask their substance use treatment provider about the Parent Success Program.
SNAP Scam Alert
The USDA issued the following notice on September 10, 2020 to protect SNAP participants, after receiving reports of several possible SNAP Fraud attempts:
Be aware of a scam using texting to obtain your personal information. The text might say you were chosen to receive food stamps or SNAP. If you do not know if a request for information about SNAP is real or not, contact your local SNAP office.
Never share personal information with individuals or organizations that you do not know. Personal information includes your social security number, bank information, or SNAP electronic benefits transfer card or PIN number.
If you think the text is a scam, do not reply at all. Just delete.
To stay on top of potential scams, please visit USDA's SNAP scam alert webpage.
“Find Food Support” Website
Find Food Support is a website using a Google Maps tool to help individuals locate sources of free food in their communities. Google partnered with No Kid Hungry, FoodFinder, and the United States Department of Agriculture to identify more than 90,000 food support sites including food banks, food pantries, and school lunch pick-up locations across all 50 states.
WIC Fruits and Vegetables Increase
The State has increased the WIC Cash Value Benefit for purchasing fruits and vegetables to $35/participant each month through 9/30/21 (up from $9-11/participant). The expansion is possible through American Rescue Plan funds. To find out if you’re eligible for WIC, visit signupwic.com.
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)
As a reminder, Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits are administered directly by the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). All questions regarding P-EBT should be directed to the State. Receipt of P-EBT is separate from SNAP and receipt of P-EBT does not preclude clients from applying for SNAP benefits.
State OTDA is providing a P-EBT helpline at 833-452-0096. The helpline is available from 8:30am – 5pm Monday through Friday. Translation services are available. Questions can also be submitted through the State’s contact form regarding P-EBT food benefits. Note that P-EBT benefits are not visible to HRA staff, even for recipients of Cash Assistance or SNAP.
Eligible children currently receiving SNAP or Cash Assistance will have their P-EBT benefits issued to their household’s EBT card. Eligible children currently enrolled in Medicaid who successfully accessed and redeemed their P-EBT benefits for the 2019-20 school year on a NYS Medicaid card will receive their P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year on the same NYS Medicaid card. Eligible children who successfully accessed their food benefits for the 2019-20 school year on a P-EBT Food Benefit card will receive their P-EBT benefits for the 2020-21 school year on the same P-EBT Food Benefit card.
All other eligible children will be mailed a P-EBT Food Benefit card with instructions explaining how to activate the card and access the food benefits. P-EBT benefits remain on the card for 274 days from date of issuance.
If the NYS Medicaid card or P-EBT Food Benefit card used to access P-EBT benefits for the 2019-20 school year has been lost, stolen, or damaged, clients will need to order a replacement card from the State. Replacement P-EBT Food Benefit cards can be ordered by calling 1-888-328-6399.
Clients with an active Cash Assistance or SNAP case who receive P-EBT food benefits may see up to 7 separate payments (one for each month from September 2020 through March 2021) for the total amount allocated per month based on number of eligible children in their SNAP household.
In order to set up a PIN with State OTDA for an EBT card with P-EBT food benefits, families can take the following steps:
OTDA does not yet have enrollment rosters for non-public schools. It is not yet known when families of students in non-public schools will receive their P-EBT food benefits. OTDA anticipates that benefits for the entire period of benefit eligibility (September 2020 through June 2021) will be issued to eligible non-public school children beginning in September 2021.
The Neighborhood Opportunity Network is operating Nutrition Kitchens with locations in five boroughs. These sites provide free groceries for individuals and families in need. Learn more about Nutrition Kitchens.
Get Food NYC Delivery Program
The City has created the Get Food NYC food delivery program to provide food for coronavirus (COVID-19)-vulnerable and food-insecure New Yorkers not currently served through existing food delivery programs. Learn more about Get Food NYC. Or you can call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777.
NYC Food Pantry Locator
If you are interested in the location of a food pantry, please visit the pantry locator. We recommend calling to ensure the particular location is open. We've provided all of our emergency food providers with information about grab and go meals and how to implement social distancing at food pantries.
Plentiful Food Pantry App
Plentiful Pantry App is an app that lets New Yorkers find food pantries and make reservations ahead of time. There is a map of pantries all over NYC with over 300 locations. With Plentiful, pantries can easily keep track of clients, and clients can manage pantry visits directly from their phone. Pantries use Plentiful to manage reservations and communicate with clients. Clients get reservation reminders on their phone. Plentiful was created by The New York City Food Assistance Collaborative, a coalition of public and private organizations working to alleviate hunger in New York City. Collaborative members include the NYC Mayor's Office of Food Policy, City Harvest, United Way of New York City, the New York City Human Resources Administration - EFAP, and the New York State Department of Health Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program.
Farmers Market Health Bucks and Pharmacy to Farm Prescriptions
Many NYC farmers markets remain open as an essential service and all accept Health Bucks coupons and most accept SNAP. Health Bucks are $2 coupons that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at all NYC farmers markets. SNAP recipients are eligible to receive Health Bucks. In the past, for every $5 spent at farmers markets using SNAP on an EBT card, individuals could receive $2 in Health Bucks. Due to a recent federal grant, farmers market customers will receive $2 in Health Bucks for every $2 spent in SNAP benefits, up to $10 in Health Bucks per day, representing a doubling of the current purchasing power ($2 for every $5 spent). Health Bucks are available year-round at NYC farmers markets that accept SNAP. Find a farmers market.
For additional information on how individuals can access and use Health Bucks, please refer to this video: How People with SNAP Benefits Use Health Bucks.
Organizations may apply for free Health Bucks to distribute to clients. Organizations can apply from mid-May through November. Health Bucks are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Apply for Health Bucks online.
CityHarvest offers free food every other week across NYC. Find locations and more information.
Get the Good Stuff
New Yorkers who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get free fruits, vegetables and beans through Get the Good Stuff, at certain supermarkets in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. For every $1 spent in SNAP benefits on eligible fruits, vegetables and beans, shoppers get $1 added to a pink Get the Good Stuff card (up to $10 per day) to spend on their next purchase of eligible foods including:
Customers with SNAP can enroll in the program by visiting the customer service desk at a participating supermarket. See a list of participating supermarkets.
Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) Program Expansion
On March 15, the City Council and the Department of City Planning (DCP) announced a partnership to update and expand the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program, which uses a zoning incentive to bring convenient, accessible grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods and New Yorkers. The FRESH zoning incentive will be expanded to 11 additional lower-income Community Districts throughout the City (including Staten Island for the first time), on top of the 19 districts where it already applies. Learn more about the FRESH program.
City Harvest Mobile Markets
City Harvest Mobile Markets provide free fresh produce throughout the five boroughs. Beginning April 3, Mobile Markets will be open from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Each site may have its own eligibility criteria to receive free food. See a list of Mobile Markets by borough.
Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) Updates
We have updated the eligibility criteria for our Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) providers to allow additional organizations to meet eligibility requirements. Applicant organizations are now required to have operated a pantry for four months rather than six. Download the application and eligibility criteria to operate a food pantry. Learn more about operating a food pantry.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) provides supplemental nutrition to food insecure New Yorkers. EFAP currently funds over 570 emergency food programs (food pantries, community kitchens and mobile pantries) throughout NYC, providing shelf-stable and frozen food, and administrative funding for non-food related expenses.
Food Resource Guides
The Hunter College Center for Food Policy has created food resource guides for 59 New York City neighborhoods. Each resource guide includes information related to food access within the community, such as the location and hours of food pantries, meals for students and seniors, delivery services for people with disabilities, and resources for immigrants.
Reminder about Temporary Vault Cards
As a reminder, CBIC cards are issued by the State OTDA. While a client is waiting for a replacement CBIC card, a temporary Vault Card can be issued at a SNAP or Job Center. Current SNAP or CA clients who need a replacement CBIC card can go to the Center that is most convenient to them to request a temporary Vault card while they wait for their CBIC card from the State in the mail.
CUNY Comeback Program
On July 28, the State announced the CUNY Comeback Program, a plan to eliminate up to $125 million in unpaid debt for at least 50,000 students who attended CUNY and suffered financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students enrolled at a CUNY college at any time between March 13, 2020, and the end of the Spring 2021 semester are eligible to receive forgiveness of outstanding balances owed to CUNY, including recent graduates and students who dropped out after taking classes during this time. Students who meet any of the below criteria will automatically have their eligible tuition and fees forgiven.
Students whose balances will be forgiven automatically will see this reflected in August 2021. They will receive a notification by email once the cancellation has been processed in the student’s CUNYfirst account. All other potentially eligible students will receive a letter in their preferred CUNY email with details on how to apply for financial hardship.
The CUNY Comeback Program is open to all students who are or were enrolled during the COVID-19 national emergency, regardless of citizenship status. For more information, students should contact their campus’ financial aid office.
Unemployment Waiting Period Reinstated
Following the expiration of Executive Order 202, the unemployment insurance (UI) unpaid waiting period rule has resumed effective June 28, 2021. This rule was temporarily suspended during the pandemic. New UI claims filed on and after June 28, 2021, will include an unpaid waiting week. Claimants will not receive payment for the first full week of a claim but must still claim weekly benefits and fulfill eligibility requirements. Information can be found on the State’s website (https://dol.ny.gov/unemployment/unemployment-insurance-assistance).
Per federal law, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims do not have an unpaid waiting period. For more information, visit on.ny.gov/wwfaqs.
Partial Unemployment Benefits - New York State
Governor Cuomo announced a plan to boost partial unemployment benefits. The plan ensures unemployed New Yorkers who accept part-time work are not penalized by basing their partial unemployment benefits on the hours they actually work, rather than the number of days they work in a given week. Currently partially employed workers are penalized 25% of their benefits for each day worked. This new State plan allows partially employed workers to work up to seven days weekly and still receive partial benefits if they are working fewer than 30 hours weekly and earning less than $504/weekly. This plan went into effect on January 18, 2021, under an Executive Order and is included in the Executive Budget. Learn more about applying.
NYS Department of Labor Updates
As a reminder, o n September 5, 2021, several Federal unemployment benefit programs expired across the country, in accordance with federal law.
The Federal benefit programs that expired were :
“Regular” Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits from the NYS Department of Labor will continue to be paid to eligible claimants even though these four Federal programs have ended . To be considered eligible for UI after September 5, 2021, a claimant needs to be unemployed AND be in the first 26 weeks (or 104 effective days) of benefits. Claimants can find their effective days remaining for UI benefits in their online Payment History. Because FPUC has ended, any weeks a claimant is eligible to receive UI benefits after September 5, 2021 will no longer include the additional $300.Claimants will be contacted by the NYS Department of Labor through emails and text messages to inform them of which program they are currently in and whether they will be eligible to continue receiving benefits after the federal benefit expiration date.
Child Tax Credit (CTC) Information and Resources
The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit for tax year 2021 from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17. Families can get half of the fully refundable credit as monthly payments in 2021, and the other half as a refund in 2022.
Additionally, households can claim up to $500 for an 18-year-old, as well as for full-time college students ages 19 to 24. These payments are not available in advance and will be distributed with a 2021 tax refund.
The advance payments will be up to 50% of a filer’s total CTC split into equal monthly payments – up to $300 per month for each qualifying child under the age of 6 and up to $250 per month for each qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17 for those who start receiving the advance payments in July. Filers will receive the remaining 50% when they file their tax year 2021 return in 2022, as either part of their refund or to reduce any taxes owed. If an individual signs up for monthly payments later in the year, their remaining monthly payments will be larger to reflect the payments they missed. If they do not sign-up in time for monthly payments in 2021, they will receive the full benefit when they file their tax return in 2022.
In July, the IRS begins monthly distributions of the advance child tax credit payments to eligible families of up to $300 per child. In June, the IRS sent letters to families notifying them of their eligibility and in July began sending families a second letter with a personalized estimate of their monthly payment.
Single filer - up to $75,000
Head of household - up to $112,500
Married filing jointly - up to $150,000
Phased out credit (phases out by $50 for every $1,000 of income over the thresholds)
Single filer - $75,000 to $240,000
Head of household - $112,500 - $240,000
Married filing jointly - $150,000 - $440,000
For married couples filing jointly, at least one spouse needs to have a Social Security number or an ITIN. Unmarried parents who share custody of a child cannot both receive the tax credit.
For the tax year 2021, a qualifying child is an individual who does not turn 18 before January 1, 2022, who lives with the taxpayer for more than one-half of the tax year, who does not provide more than one-half of their own financial support during the tax year, who is properly claimed as the taxpayers dependent, and who has a social security number.
How to receive the advanced tax credit
Families who file taxes will receive the credit automatically. In NYC, up to 400,000 children are in families who are not currently tax filers, and these families need to take action to benefit from the Child Tax Credit.
Those who haven't yet filed 2019 or 2020 taxes or completed the non-filer tool need to do so in order to receive the Child Tax Credit.
Learn more about the Child Tax Credit with this IRS Toolkit for Partners.
The NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) just launched brand new tax prep sites and developed a number of materials to provide information and support in navigating the CTC. Resources include:
The three most impactful things organizations can do to help clients access the Child Tax Credit are:
For ongoing Cash Assistance and SNAP, the advanced monthly child tax credit payments are exempt as income in the month received and are excluded as a resource for 12 months from the date of receipt.
For Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF), Emergency Safety Net Assistance (ESNA), and Emergency Assistance to Adults (EAA), available income tax refunds and credits which are determined exempt resources must be used to alleviate any emergency before the use of emergency assistance.
For HEAP, the advanced monthly child tax credit payments are excluded when determining eligibility for Regular HEAP, Emergency, Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement (HERR), Heating Equipment Clean and Tune (C&T), and Cooling Assistance benefits. Any remaining balance from monthly child tax credit payments are not considered a liquid resource for the Emergency and HERR benefit components.
Overdue taxes or other Federal or State Debts:
The IRS has stated that Advance CTC payments that families receive between July and December will not be used as offsets for federal taxes owed in previous years.
However, the remaining 50% of the CTC that families will receive when they file their 2021 tax return (in 2022) can be used as an offset for federal taxes owed in previous years.
The IRS has stated that CTC funds are not subject to garnishment for child support.
The IRS has stated that CTC funds are not federally protected from garnishment for private debts. However, New York passed a law in May 2021 (S.5923-A/A.6617-A) that prevents private garnishment of all pandemic-related stimulus or tax credit funds. New Yorkers are protected under this law and their CTC funds cannot be garnished for private debts.
Financial Resources for NYC Businesses and Nonprofits
The NYC Economic Development Corporation has compiled a number of financial resources available to NYC businesses and nonprofits, along with business guidance, to help with COVID-19 relief and recovery. The can be accessed here: COVID-19 Business Relief Resources | NYCEDC
COVID-19 Financial Resources – Grants
Candid is a non-profit resource website that has been compiling a list of grant funds that are available for individuals and organizations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 financial crisis. Please note that this is an informational source – Candid does not issue grant funds. Visit the Candid website to view the list of grants.
Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) gives a temporary discount on your household’s monthly broadband internet service if you are eligible. Participating broadband providers will apply this discount to your broadband plan.
Additional information can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
Frequently Asked Questions can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/consumer-faq-emergency-broadband-benefit.
Emergency Utility Intervention Program (EUIP)
As a reminder, recipients of social service benefits are eligible for the National Grid and Con Edison utility rate reduction program. In November, HRA completed its final low-income rate match for the 2020 program year for the utility rate reduction for customers receiving social services benefits. HRA clients with utility accounts were automatically enrolled and were provided an opportunity to opt-out of the program if they wished to do so.
Enrollment is ongoing and HRA clients who were not automatically enrolled can participate by contacting their utility company to enroll. Clients can contact Con Edison at 800-75-CONED (800-752-6633) to enroll by phone, or by email at email@example.com. Con Edison will provide further instructions regarding enrollment requirements.
For questions, clients should contact the Emergency Utility Intervention program at 212-331-4120 or by email at EUIP@hra.nyc.gov.
New York State Utility Shutoff Moratorium
New York State law provides temporary shutoff protections of essential utilities and municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The moratorium is a grace period for customers to catch up on their bill and obtain financial assistance.
Those who have experienced a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are in arrears for utility or municipal bills must self-certify to their utility provider or municipality to protect their account from shutoff. Utility companies and municipalities must also offer a deferred payment agreement with no money down, late fees, or interest to help pay arrears. These temporary protections will remain in effect through December 2021. For more information please visit: https://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/AskPSC.nsf/All/D3BB77AFE92D6FFF852585EE0051A13E?OpenDocument#_blank
Federal Tax Resources and Updates
The IRS and New York State have extended the deadline for filing of federal and state tax returns until May 17, 2021.
Stimulus Payments/Economic Impact Payments (EIP)
Every American citizen who earned less than $75,000 – or $150,000 total for married couples – in 2019 or 2020 has been eligible for the three rounds of pandemic stimulus: a $1,200 check in spring 2020, a $600 check in December 2020, and a $1,400 checks in March 2021.
Payments of $1,200 ($2,400 for a joint return) were issued to individuals whose adjusted gross income (AGI) did not exceed:
Individuals may also receive up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child.
The first Economic Impact Payment was not made to married couples filing joint returns unless both spouses had Social Security numbers valid for employment or at least one spouse was a member of the military. In December 2020, the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 changed this requirement. As a result, a married couple filing a joint return is eligible for a partial Recovery Rebate Credit when only one spouse has a Social Security number valid for employment. If you and your spouse didn't receive the first Economic Impact Payment because one of you did not have a Social Security number valid for employment, you may claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on line 30 of your 2020 tax return.
Payments of $600 ($1200 for a joint return) were issued to individuals whose adjusted gross income (AGI) did not exceed:
The payment will include $600 for each qualifying child listed on your 2019 tax return with a valid SSN or ATIN.
The former IRS non-filer tool is no longer available. As such, individuals who do not normally file a return will need to file a 2020 tax return to receive the Economic Impact Payment (EIP).
Payments of $1400 ($2800 for a joint return) are being issued to individuals whose adjusted gross income (AGI) does not exceed:
Those eligible will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,400 for individuals or $2,800 for married couples, plus $1,400 for each dependent. Unlike EIP1 and EIP2, families will get a payment for all their dependents claimed on a tax return, not just their qualifying children under 17. Payment amounts are reduced for filers with incomes above those levels.
Individuals can use the IRS Get My Payment Tool to track the status of a payment at irs.gov/getmypayment.
Payments were disbursed via direct deposit, physical check, or prepaid card. For those receiving government benefits (SSDI, SSI, VA), their payments would have been disbursed in the same way they currently receive benefits.
Individuals and families should have received automatic payments if they:
Individuals and families would NOT have received an automatic payment if they did not file a 2019 tax return or did not register for the first-round payment using the IRS Non-Filer Tool. Individuals and families who do not usually file taxes because they are not required to do so, and do not receive SSA, RRB, SSI, or VA Compensation and Pension benefits should file a 2020 tax return by May 17, 2021 and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.
Information and assistance are available for individuals who are eligible for a recovery rebate credit but have no income or are not required to file an income tax return. In order to receive a rebate credit, all individuals are required to file an income tax return. The IRS Free File is available for those who are only filing a tax return to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. See the special section on IRS.gov about claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit if you aren't required to file a tax return.
We have created a flyer with this information.
As a reminder, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection's (DCWP) can provide assistance filing for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Their NYC Free Tax Prep program provides New Yorkers assistance to file tax returns for free and claim important tax credits including federal stimulus payments. Visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311 for more information.
Individuals and families who did not receive the first two EIP payments can still qualify for those payments when they file their 2020 return by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit. There is a special section on IRS.gov that can provide help: Claiming the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit if you are not required to file a tax return.
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.
For questions about EIP or the amount received or for questions about banking and direct deposit, individuals can contact the NYC Financial Empowerment Center to speak with a counselor, review rules and eligibility for EIP, and schedule an appointment.
If taxpayers do not recognize the bank account number displayed in the IRS Get My Payment tool, it is not necessarily an indicator of fraud. It may be an issue related to how information is displayed in the Get My Payment tool tied to temporary accounts used for refund loans/banking products. The IRS is working to address this issue. People do not need to complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, or contact the IRS.
The State OTDA and the State Department of Health have clarified that the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) supplement of $300/week as well as the $600 and now $1400 economic impact payments are excluded from consideration as income for the purposes of calculating SNAP, Cash Assistance and HEAP benefits, as well as for Medicaid. In addition, any lump sum received under FPUC, if received retroactively, is excluded as income and therefore is not subject to the lump sum provisions for these benefits.
However, the State treats regular State Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) as income in calculating benefits eligibility in the same way that it was treated prior to the pandemic. The exclusion only applies to Federal supplement and stimulus payments.
This exemption of funds now also includes the Fair Fares discount.
As we reported previously, monies received through the following Rescue Plan provisions are excluded from consideration for HEAP, SNAP, and Cash Assistance benefits, and Medicaid. (including receipt of payments retroactively as a lump sum):
Individuals experiencing homeless are eligible for all three rounds of EIP and will need to file a tax return in order to receive the payments. Services are available through NYC Free Tax Prep. Both a valid form of ID and SSN/ITIN are required. (Acceptable forms of ID include: a driver's license, IDNYC, DHS/shelter ID, State ID, employer ID, school ID, military ID, national ID, visa, or passport).
More people qualify for the 3rd EIP than for earlier payments. Here's what is different:
Getting the payment
NOTE: If none of the above applies, the individual will need to file a 2020 federal tax return.
On September 24, 2020 the US District Court for Northern California issued an injunction requiring the Federal government (the U.S Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service) to stop withholding CARES ACT Economic Impact Payments (EIP) from incarcerated individuals. According to a Treasury Inspector General report issued in May 2020, this impacts at least 80,000 individuals who are owed $100 million in payments. Incarcerated individuals who did not receive a payment by December 31, 2020 may be eligible to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit by filing a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. Learn more on the IRS' information center website.
NYC Financial Empowerment Center counselors are available to support New Yorkers over the phone with free financial counseling. It is free and confidential. Book an appointment online.
Medicaid Application Submission and Updates
Medicaid applications from individuals age 65 and older or who have a disability can be dropped off in marked drop boxes at Medical Assistance Program “MAP” (formerly known as Medical Insurance and Community Services Administration or MICSA) locations and may also be faxed to 917-639-0732.
The end of New York State’s state of emergency declaration does NOT change the easements granted for Medicaid cases. The Medicaid easements are based on the federal Public Health Emergency, which is still in effect.
Medicaid easements have been extended through December 2021. This includes the automatic extension for cases with an authorization that ends between August and December 2021, even if the client doesn’t submit their renewal. These cases will be extended for 12 months.
Any case that is closed during the COVID-19 emergency for failure to renew or failure to provide documentation will be re-opened and coverage restored to ensure no gap in coverage. Excess resources cases will be extended for 6 months.
Medicaid Fact Sheets
Medicaid and Medicare Savings Program Application and Renewal Updates
Easements on new applications for the Medicaid and Medicare Savings Program have been extended. Application processing, which had previously been set to resume on November 1, 2021, will not resume until at least January 1, 2022.
All Medicaid cases with authorizations ending in July – December 2020 and January – September 2021 are automatically extended for 12 months.
Medicaid – Transfer of Assets Look Back
As a result of the extension of the federal public health emergency, the State's proposed 30-month transfer of assets look back for those applying for the Community Medicaid program, which provides long-term home and community-based services, was not implemented on April 1, 2021 as previously scheduled. The New York State transfer of assets look back period of 60 months for nursing home Medicaid is still in effect.
The extension of Medicaid cases also applies to the Medicare Savings Program (MSP).
New York State Department of Health Medicaid and NY State of Health Insurance Updates
The New York State Department of Health and the New York State of Health have posted important Covid-19 related updates to their websites.
Digital Toolkit for Housing Resources
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched a new digital toolkit for media, intermediaries, and other stakeholders interested in providing information to renters and mortgage borrowers who continue to struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The toolkit provides the most up-to-date information and resources.
To help spread the word about protections and relief options, the comprehensive digital media toolkit includes sample communications such as:
Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has announced the official launch of the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). This first-of-its-kind water assistance program will expand access to more affordable water and help low-income households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay their water and wastewater bills, avoid shutoffs, and support household water system reconnections related to non-payment. Learn more here.
Rental Assistance Finder
The federal government continues to enact an all-of-government effort to ensure renters and landlords are able to take advantage of the relief available to them on a local level.
As part of that effort, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has developed a new tool, the Rental Assistance Finder (www.consumerfinance.gov/renthelp) that allows renters and landlords to find rental assistance programs in their area.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
As of June 1, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is accepting applications for rental assistance through its portal.
As required by the State, pending applications for One-Shot Deals for rental arrears will be denied by HRA and applicants will be referred to apply for funds through the State’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Clients who are denied ERAP funds can re-apply for an OSD once a denial is received. Clients may also apply for funds that are not covered by ERAP, if ERAP funds are awarded. For example, if there are 15 months of rental arrears owed, a client can re-apply for an OSD after receiving the funding to cover the 12 months of arrears received through ERAP.
New Yorkers who make 80–120% of area median income (up to $131,230 for a family of four, see all household sizes) may now apply to ERAP.
State OTDA has now approved the joint request by NYCHA and DSS to enable NYCHA to apply for ERAP on behalf of residents so that residents no longer have to fill out the full online ERAP application. Residents who haven’t yet applied for ERAP can consent to NYCHA applying on their behalf via the Authority’s Self-Service Portal (a how-to guide can be found here). NYCHA residents who have already submitted an ERAP application should send their ERAP application number, first and last name, date of birth, development name, and nine-digit account number to firstname.lastname@example.org so that NYCHA can complete the application with State OTDA.
Clients applying for a One Shot Deal, or active clients requesting a special grant, for rent arrears or both rent and utility arrears, will be required by the State to apply for the State 's Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) for as long as the ERAP funds remain available. DSS will encourage all applicants to apply for ERAP for rent arrears (and utility arrears if combined with rent arrears) as these funds do not require repayment or recoupment. Other Special Grant Requests will be processed as usual for expenses such as utility arrears without any rent arrears, moving costs, storage expenses, security deposits, and furniture allowances.
The OTDA ERAP web page has detailed information on eligibility and the application process. The State OTDA has also opened a help line at 844-NY1-RENT (844-691-7368).
The Department of Social Services has contracted with community-based organizations in each borough to provide outreach and enrollment assistance to potentially eligible New Yorkers. Information, including a list of the organizations contracted to provide enrollment services, can be found online.
HRA is sending notices to all benefits recipients notifying them of the availability of this federal benefit.
New York residents are eligible for ERAP if they meet all of the following criteria:
There are no immigration status requirements to qualify for the program.
Households eligible for rental arrears may also be eligible for help paying utility arrears at the same rental unit.
During the first 30 days of the program, New York State is prioritizing households with income at or below 50% of AMI and at least one household member within the following categories:
After the initial 30-day period, applications will be reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis. Funds are limited so all eligible households should apply as soon as possible regardless of whether they are in a priority group.
Households approved for ERAP may receive:
Payments will be made directly to the landlord/property owner and utility company on behalf of the tenant. Payments issued under ERAP do not need to be paid back.
In accordance with OTDA's directive, clients who have received a denial or partial acceptance of an ERAP application from the State may now apply for a One-Shot Deal/Special Grant. Confirmation of the ERAP application denial or partial acceptance from OTDA can be provided in hard copy or email format.
Additional resources are available for download to help clients access this benefit:
All are available in additional languages here.
Please continue to encourage those who may be eligible to apply, and please remember that help is available for landlords and tenants across the city through a network of DSS contracted community-based organizations: https://nyc.gov/erap. Questions can also be answered via the State’s ERAP call center: 844-NY1RENT (844-691-7368) or the hearing-impaired TTY phone number: 1-833-843-8829.
In accordance with OTDA’s directive, clients who have received a denial of an ERAP application from the State may now apply for a One-Shot Deal/Special Grant. Confirmation of the ERAP application denial from OTDA can be provided in hard copy or email format.
Either a landlord or tenant may initiate an ERAP application. All OTDA ERAP applications require documentation from both the landlord and tenant to be deemed complete and to be reviewed for payment of arrears and other expenses.
When a landlord files an ERAP application, tenants are required to provide requisite information to complete the application. Tenants will be contacted by the State OTDA vendor/system.
When the application is initiated by the tenant and a landlord does not or refuses to provide information needed to make a rental arrears payment to the landlord on behalf of a tenant the amount of rental assistance that the landlord would have been paid is set aside for 180 days. If the landlord has not provided the needed information after 180 days from the tenant ’s determination of provisional eligibility, the tenant may use the provisional determination of ERAP eligibility as an affirmative defense in any proceeding brought by the landlord during the subsequent year for a monetary judgment or an order of eviction based on the nonpayment of rent that would have been covered by the ERAP payment. After 12 months, the landlord is deemed to have waived the amount of rent that would have been covered by the ERAP payment.Additional information can be found here.
TakeRoot Justice, a nonprofit legal services provider supported by HRA’s Office of Civil Justice, has prepared an information sheet with ERAP application tips and a worksheet with a list of questions that tenant applicants can fill out ahead of time to be prepared to complete the ERAP application in one sitting. Learn more about ERAP and access the application here.
DSS and sister agencies hosted a briefing for our government partners, including representatives of federal, state and city elected officials, on the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s ERAP program. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here. Access Passcode: DSSErap_2021.
As promised on the community call last week, below is an outline of the City’s social media and advertising campaign to publicize the OTDA ERAP program:
Phase One - June
Phase Two – July
Phase Three – August
Pet Owner Eviction Project
Animal Haven's Pet Owner Eviction Project, in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Animal Welfare and NYC Emergency Management's Animal Planning Task Force, is seeking to connect vulnerable tenants at risk of losing their pets while facing a potential eviction with free and low-cost resources. For more information and assistance, individuals can call the COVID-19 Pet Hotline: 877-204-8821
NYS Eviction Protections for Tenants – Update
As we have reported previously, on September 2, 2021, Governor Hochul signed state legislation that extended legal protections from eviction for most tenants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through January 15, 2022. The new law follows recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court that found the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nationwide restriction on evictions and the earlier NYS COVID-19 eviction protection laws (CEEFPA) to be unlawful.
The new law provides that tenants who have submitted completed Hardship Declarations attesting to their financial hardship affecting their ability to pay rent or find new housing during the pandemic are protected from eviction until January 15, 2022, and that their eviction cases are stayed (paused) until that date. Tenants who have not yet submitted Hardship Declarations can do so now and likewise be protected until January 15, 2022. To address the legal issues addressed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling, the new law gives a landlord the ability to challenge a tenant’s Hardship Declaration if the landlord believes that the hardship does not exist. The landlord can file a motion in Housing Court for a hearing to determine whether a hardship exists (in which case the stay remains in place until January 15, 2022) or not (in which case the eviction case can move forward in Housing Court). Tenants who have submitted Hardship Declarations should respond to any court notices they receive that their case is scheduled for a hearing.
In addition, the new law extends the coverage period of the NYS Tenant Safe Harbor Act until January 15, 2022, meaning that tenants who can prove that they had financial hardship between the start of the State COVID-19 emergency period on March 7, 2020 through January 15, 2022 may have a defense in court to eviction for non-payment of rent owed during that period.
Also, the new law clarifies that tenants who file applications for the NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) will have their eviction case stayed (paused) until their application is reviewed and decided by NYS, regardless of when the case was originally filed against them. Our w aiver of the State requirement that applicants for the State Family Homelessness Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) have a pending court action is also extended through January 15, 2022; the parallel requirement for CityFHEPS is also extended through January 15, 2022.
On September 3, 2021, the NYC Department of Investigation, the agency that oversees city marshals who are tasked with executing eviction warrants issued by Housing Court, published an advisement to marshals clarifying that following the recent changes to the law an eviction warrant that was issued prior to September 2, 2021, may not be executed by a marshal until the Housing Court has held a status conference with the parties. DOI’s advisement is available on their website here.
Tenants who are scheduled for appearance in eviction proceedings in Housing Court, including for hearings about Hardship Declarations, have access to free eviction defense legal services provided by HRA’s Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) under the City’s right-to-counsel law, regardless of ZIP code. Tenants with questions about their protections from eviction can get free legal advice and other assistance provided by OCJ. For more information on how to access free legal services for tenants in NYC, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline, call nonprofit Housing Court Answers at (718) 557-1379, or visit HRA’s Office of Civil Justice online at www.nyc.gov/civiljustice.
The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is currently conducting Fair Hearings by telephone. HRA clients or applicants may request a Fair Hearing in any of the following ways:
Client notices with Fair Hearing information provide a unique phone number that clients can use to request a pre-hearing HRA conference by phone. Once a pre-hearing conference to resolve a hearing issue is requested, clients will be contacted by HRA at or around the date and time requested by the client.
As Fair Hearing determinations are made, the agency is complying with the determinations. When a Fair Hearing finds in favor of the client, benefits will be re-instated, including any rental subsidies.
Project Parachute, FASTEN, and Homebase: Eviction Protection and Rent Relief
Project Parachute is a coalition of property owners, nonprofits, and City agencies committed to helping vulnerable and underserved New York residents stay in their homes as the COVID-19 crisis continues. T hrough its program FASTEN (Funds and Services for Tenants Experiencing Need), Project Parachute offers eviction prevention services and financial resources, including rent relief.
FASTEN services are being delivered by HRA's eviction prevention Homebase providers – BronxWorks, CAMBA, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, Catholic Charities Community Services, HELP USA, RiseBoro Community Partnership (RiseBoro), and Services for the UnderServed (S:US). Read Project Parachute's Frequently Asked Questions (Spanish).
Individuals and families served by FASTEN must:
Anyone who meets these requirements can receive assistance regardless of immigration status or employment status (e.g. temporary, intermittent, part-time, day labor, and contract workers) through non-profit Homebase providers.
Tenants can be referred by landlords, referral partners, and agencies or they can reach out directly to their Homebase provider by calling 311 or visiting the Homebase Locator webpage.
New York City Rent Subsidies for Landlords
Connecting DHS clients to permanent housing is a key priority for the agency, and we have maintained a strong focus on rehousing throughout the pandemic. We want to encourage landlords who may not have worked with the City in the past to rent units to families and individuals leaving the DHS shelter system. The majority of DHS clients exit with a rental subsidy such as CityFHEPS – in addition to rent, these subsidies come with a variety of other benefits to landlords and brokers, including an upfront landlord incentive payment and brokers' fees. In this challenging economic climate, the City rent subsidies provide a tangible financial upside to landlords. Renting to DHS clients is a win for both those households who can exit shelter and the owners who receive upfront incentives and ongoing subsidized rent. Download the rent subsidy flyer. We encourage you to share this information with landlords and brokers in your community to help us both connect households to permanent housing and support local property owners.
Enterprise Data Warehouse Report for Housing Advocates
As of July 10, 2020, we have a streamlined process for obtaining client and case information to assist in Housing Court cases. The Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) will produce a consolidated report providing all relevant client and case information to assist advocates in Housing Court cases. This report replaces the numerous screens and printouts from the State Welfare Management System (WMS) that the HRA Landlord Ombudsman Service Unit (LOSU) was collecting and providing upon request. Housing Advocates can submit requests to LOSU using the newly created Housing Court Report Request Form (HPA-106).
The State Family Homelessness Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) for Cash Assistance Recipients
The State FHEPS program is a rent supplement for families with children who receive Cash Assistance and have been evicted or are facing eviction, who lost their housing due to a domestic violence situation, or who have lost their housing because of health or safety issues. Formerly known as the Family Eviction Prevention Supplement (FEPS), the program has been expanded to include survivors of domestic violence and their children. The administration of this State program has transitioned from the State to the City. Potentially eligible families must have an active Cash Assistance case and will be screened for this benefit once an Emergency Grant and/or ongoing Cash Assistance application has been received. There is no dedicated State FHEPS application. Clients can only be considered for the program by applying for Cash/Emergency Assistance. Cash/Emergency Assistance applications are available on ACCESS HRA or at open Job Centers. State FHEPS information and documentation for providers, landlords and brokers can be accessed in multiple languages on our FHEPS page.
The State OTDA has granted our request for a waiver of the eviction proceeding requirement for State FHEPS eligibility. This waiver is granted through January 15, 2022, or until the eviction moratorium has been lifted.
Hardship declaration forms are available to download in 20 languages on the New York Courts EEFPA webpage.
Citywide Right-to-Counsel for Tenants Facing Housing Court Eviction Proceedings
On May 11, 2021, Mayor de Blasio signed into law City Council Intro 2050A, which codified the accelerated speed and citywide scale of the HRA's Office of Civil Justice's implementation of the City's right-to-counsel law and our commitment to provide all low-income tenants facing eviction with legal representation in Housing Court. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, OCJ has worked with legal services providers to ensure that low-income tenants who are facing eviction proceedings in Housing Court have access to free legal representation at or near their first appearance in court, regardless of their ZIP code. For more information about free legal services for New York City tenants in need, please visit HRA's Office of Civil Justice.
Tenant and Property Owner Resources
The Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants (MOPT) and the Mayor's Public Engagement Unit's (PEU) Tenant Support Unit (TSU) have created an online tool to help renters in New York City navigate public and private resources that can stabilize their housing situation. A tenant seeking help will be taken through a series of questions and directed to the most useful resources based on their responses, including information about free legal services for tenants through HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ). MOPT and PEU have included resources from multiple City agencies, Legal Services Providers, and Community-Based Organizations.
Legal Services Providers or Community-Based Organizations are encouraged to recommend additional resources using the online feedback form.
This page is updated regularly as new information is made available. Please visit the Tenant Protection site.
The Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants has created resource guides for tenants and residential property owners to help those struggling as a result of financial hardship caused by the pandemic.
Linked here is a Resource Guide for Residential Owners, The guide summarizes programs through which owners can access rental arrears, foreclosure protections, loans, and individualized assistance.
The Tenant Flyer provides useful information for tenants who may be struggling to pay rent or facing eviction. The flyer can be found online here.
CityFHEPS and Rental Assistance
CityFHEPS is one of the programs that provides ongoing rental assistance. This is a benefit that is made available to clients who are in shelter or for some individuals facing eviction. Learn more about CityFHEPS eligibility for community tenants. Learn more about eligibility for households residing in shelter.
In the community, Homebase and HRA's Adult Protective Services (APS) program can help eligible clients facing eviction obtain rental assistance. CityFHEPS letters are generated by the Homebase or APS program and given to the client by the client's case manager at the time they are created. Homebase locations are currently closed but are providing their services by phone. Clients can find the phone number for the Homebase location that serves their zip code on our website, and access information about Homebase in numerous languages.
In DHS shelter, most CityFHEPS shopping letters are generated automatically through a data match and issued to the client's shelter through the DHS CARES system. After a letter is generated, it is placed in the shelter Provider's folder in the S drive and in the CARES system. Providers are instructed to check these folders on a regular basis. Additionally, a shelter case manager can request a letter if they don't see a letter for their client in their folder. Usually, letters are generated within 24 hours after the request.
For existing CityFHEPS clients in shelter, we continue to operate the program with some modifications to our usual process:
For clients in the community in need of CityFHEPS assistance to maintain their current housing, HRA is temporarily waiving the requirement of a court action through January 15, 2022 or until the State eviction moratorium is lifted, whichever is later. In line with the waiver granted for FHEPS by the State, a written rent demand or written threat of eviction, combined with the hardship declaration, may be used in lieu of the court action when determining CityFHEPS eligibility.
The best way clients can return their completed and signed CityFHEPS Renewal Request form is to email it along with images of all supporting documents to RAPrenewals@hra.nyc.gov. Clients can also mail the completed and signed form, along with copies of all supporting documents, to Rental Assistance Program Unit, 109 E 16th Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10003. The Rental Assistance Unit remains closed to the public at this time.
New payment standards for approved CityFHEPS clients went into effect on September 1, 2021. Please see charts below.
MAXIMUM RENT AMOUNTS
Number of Bedrooms
ALL Utilities Included
WITHOUT Cooking Gas & Electric
WITH Cooking Gas Only
WITH Electric Only
DSS Utility Allowance Schedules (effective 9/1/2021)
Number of Bedrooms
Gas Hot Water
Electric Hot Water
Oil Hot Water
HRA will automatically reissue new CityFHEPS shopping letters to people in shelter who were previously eligible as their current letters expire.
SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption)
While the SCRIE Unit office at HPD remains closed to the public, seniors can submit applications and ask questions by email at SCRIE@hpd.nyc.gov or mail, at:
100 Gold Street
New York, NY 10038
Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Office/Section 8 Vouchers
Starting on May 3, 2021, HPD's Division of Tenant Resources' Client Services office at 100 Gold Street has re-opened by appointment only. Appointments will be scheduled only when business may not be handled virtually or by phone. The most efficient way to reach HPD staff is by using email. Follow this link for HPD staff email addresses.
HPD has extended voucher terms:
The HPD Section 8 team is still available to the public:
Voucher holders facing rent hardships due to drops in income should email DTRAI@hpd.nyc.gov or fax at 212-863-5299. Or call 917-286-4300 and leave a message for the unit you're trying to reach. You will receive a returned call from a HPD staff person.
NYCHA Rent Reduction
A household may qualify for a NYCHA rent reduction based on a rent hardship. NYCHA has simplified its Rent Hardship Policy to make it easier to reduce rent in NYCHA during the COVID-19 crisis.
NYCHA accepts applications through an Interim Recertification if an individual's hours at work have been cut or for loss of a job.
Tenant Protection Information resources for tenants impacted by COVID-19 can be found at the Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants' webpage Information and Resources for NYC Tenants Impacted by COVID-19
Reasonable Accommodation Process for DHS Clients
DHS applicants and clients may request a reasonable accommodation at any point in time and do not need to use specific language (e.g., reasonable accommodation) in order to ask for help that they need because of a disability or medically-related condition. Applicants and clients may ask for help because of a disability from staff at any intake, assessment, or shelter location. They may complete the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form (DHS-13) and if they need assistance with completing the request form, staff can help. Please note that applicants and clients do not have to fill out the request form to request an accommodation; staff can fill out the request form on behalf of the client. Once a request is made, the request will be reviewed. If documentation is needed for a condition/need that is not obvious or apparent, supporting documentation will be needed from the client so that the request can be reviewed. Applicants and clients can use this process for any reasonable accommodation requests, including single room requests. Download the DHS Reasonable Accommodation Flyer.
Homeless Drop-In Centers
Drop-In Centers (DICs) are low-barrier programs specifically targeted toward unsheltered individuals who may be resistant to accepting other services, including traditional shelters. DICs are equipped with on-site services and staff who work closely with unsheltered New Yorkers to build trust, stabilize lives, and encourage further transition off the streets and into transitional and permanent housing. These facilities can often be the first step towards helping unsheltered New Yorkers back on the path to stability.
Drop-In Centers provide baseline services with the goal of meeting immediate needs for unsheltered New Yorkers, such as showers and meals. DICs also have on-site case management services and staff, providing an immediate option for individuals who want to transition off the streets.
New Yorkers who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness and residing on the streets and/or subways can visit Drop-In Centers to receive specialized services including:
There are DICs in each borough and all centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.
2640 Third Ave (between East 141 Street and East 142 Street)
By Subway: 6 train to 3 Ave/138th St Station
2402 Atlantic Avenue (between Sackman Street and Jardine Place)
By Subway: A train to Broadway Junction
Olivieri Center for Homeless
257 West 30th Street (between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue)
By Subway: A, C, E, 1, 2, or 3 train to 34th Street-Penn Station
100-32 Atlantic Avenue (at 102 Street)
By Subway: J/Z to 104th Street Station
150 Richmond Terrace (between Wall Street and Schuyler Street)
718-720-0079, ext. 10
Wi-Fi and Technology Support for Students Living in Shelter
The City is installing WiFi in the individual family units in all DHS shelters for families with children and HRA shelters for domestic violence survivors. This initiative will be implemented centrally through DoITT. Companies installing the connectivity at shelter locations are prioritizing those locations with reported connectivity issues.
In addition, for those commercial hotel locations where we are providing temporary shelter while we continue to transition out of commercial hotels, we have worked with hotel shelter providers to add WiFi services to the service agreements with these hotels.
Families with children in DHS shelters or HRA DV shelters have a dedicated Department of Education (DOE) IT helpline to troubleshoot connectivity issues and other DOE iPad-related concerns. To ensure students in DHS and HRA DV shelters have access to immediate support, a priority shelter support hotline was developed which is available Monday - Saturday, 6am - 9pm at 718-935-5108, including on all major holidays. Students using DOE-issued iPads can report problems with connectivity and devices may be swapped out for service with an alternate cellular carrier.
Shelter providers are prepared to assist clients in reaching out to the DOE helpdesk for assistance.
The City is also working with Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi on legislation (S3593/A3912) to provide State funding for broadband in shelters.
COVID-Related Shelter Updates
On May 27, 2021, DHS communicated with clients to prepare them for the return to congregate shelter from the temporary relocation hotels, and on June 17, 2021 DHS received updated NYS OTDA guidance on resumed operations of congregate shelters. DHS is now moving forward with the return to shelter. We began reaching out to the first group of clients and providers about the first moves on Thursday, June 17th and will begin moving the first group of clients on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. We expect the transition back to congregate shelter to be complete by the end of July.
As we return shelter residents to a congregate setting, we are working to ensure safety for all and maintaining protocols we have had in place throughout the pandemic.
Since vaccines have been made available, we have worked hard to ensure access for our clients experiencing homelessness by making it as easy as possible to get vaccinated. First, we established a dedicated vaccine site for clients, then we implemented a proactive, mobile vaccine program based on our successful COVID-19 testing program, which together continue delivering free tests and free vaccines directly to shelters where our clients reside, keeping COVID rates low and saving lives.
Throughout the DSS-DHS system, both through our dedicated hub and our mobile vaccine efforts, we have administered nearly 20,750 vaccine doses to DSS-DHS clients (primarily single adults) and staff so far – with more than 14,000 individual New Yorkers now fully vaccinated with effective vaccines.
With direct access programs like these, educational efforts to address vaccine hesitancy, incentive initiatives to encourage additional uptake, and more, we remain committed to providing every opportunity to get vaccinated for clients and essential frontline staff.
Enhancing medical oversight to codify lessons learned and ensure consistent policies and procedures:
DHS worked with H&H to develop a coordinated clinical approach to isolation and non-isolation locations, with a focus on congregate shelters, ensuring appropriate levels of care, codifying the effective strategies/recommendations this Agency used to successfully protect clients and save lives. As part of that process, H+H reviewed all protocols at DHS sites and has continually evaluated existing clinical models for use at DHS isolation sites so that we can continue to adapt, adjust, and improve as needed.
Systemwide testing, tracing, and treating to begin bringing cases down:
We are proactively offering testing to all our adult clients, going systematically shelter by shelter, to ensure we continue our progress and prevent further cases and we’re delivering this resource directly to where our clients are, providing easy-to-access, free testing on-site so that they do not have to travel to designated testing locations.
Protective and preventive resources:
All front-line DHS and HRA staff, including security staff and HRA client-facing centers, have been and will continue to be provided with PPE, such as masks, which we continue to distribute as needed, and we have sufficient supply to make masks/face-coverings available to any clients who needs a mask as well. We also conduct screening at the front door (our intake centers) 24/7, on top of existing medical clinic capacity at intake centers, and all of our isolation locations are staffed 24/7 with clinical/nursing staff. We also distributed thermometers to shelters to check temperatures for anyone who expresses they are experiencing symptoms, and to isolation locations to check temperatures for determining when symptomatic clients are without fever, so we are able to discharge.
Per DOHMH guidance, shelters are:
Coordinating in lockstep to provide care for anyone who may feel sick.
DHS Isolation Sites and Non-COVID-19 Hospital Discharges to DHS shelters
Our processes at isolation sites conform to the NYS Department of Health guidance about the length of the isolation period.
In addition, all non-COVID-19 medical discharges are accepted 7 days a week for the duration of the pandemic.
Access to Bathrooms for Individuals Experiencing Street Homelessness
The NYC Parks Department has open facilities across the City. Learn more and see a list of all locations.
Our dedicated outreach teams continue to connect unsheltered New Yorkers to a range of specialized resources to meet their needs - including shelter, safe havens, and stabilization beds - focused on preserving the trust developed with these individuals every day and building on those relationships as we acknowledge their humanity and encourage them to come in off the streets. Engaging those in need isn't easy or quick work, nor is accepting services for those who've lived unsheltered for some time and been let down by multiple systems – it requires persistence, compassion, and trust, and we will keep coming back.
Voluntary Engagement – HRA Employment Services
As a reminder, HRA’s Career Services and Customized Assistance Services (CAS) programs are offering voluntary employment services as of June 28, 2021. Clients may begin to receive letters and phone calls inviting them to participate in remote YouthPathways, CareerCompass, and CareerAdvance services or WeCARE Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS). These are voluntary services. No negative actions will be taken against clients who cannot or choose not to participate.
Excluded Workers Fund Applications Now Open
Applications are now open for the Excluded Workers Fund. The Excluded Workers Fund (EWF) is a benefit for people who lost income due to COVID-19 and aren’t eligible for Unemployment Insurance due to immigration status. The application doesn’t ask any questions about citizenship or immigration status. New Yorkers who lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for one of two tiers of benefits:
Individuals can apply on the NYS Department of Labor website and/or contact a community-based organization to get help applying. Visit dol.ny.gov/CBOlist for a full list of trusted organizations or call 877-EWF-4NYS (877- 393-4697) to speak with an agent and find a location near you. Applicants must use a mobile device or computer to submit your application, which is available in 13 different languages. Applications will not be accepted by mail.
Cooling Centers and Extreme Heat Information
To help New Yorkers beat the heat, New York City has begun opening cooling centers throughout the five boroughs. Attendees must wear face coverings inside all cooling centers and adhere to social distancing guidelines. To find a cooling center, including accessible facilities closest to you, call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) or visit the City’s Cooling Center Finder. Additionally, a citywide map of outdoor cooling options (including spray showers, drinking fountains, and more) can be found online at Cool It! NYC.
During extreme heat, the Department of Social Services (DSS) issues a Code Red Alert. During Code Reds, shelter is available to anyone experiencing homelessness.
To prepare for future hot weather, eligible New Yorkers can also obtain free air conditioners, including installation, through the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). More information on eligibility and how to apply can be found below, at this website, or by calling 311 and asking about the cooling assistance benefit.
HEAP Cooling Assistance Component (CAC)
As a reminder, to be eligible for a CAC benefit, the applicant or a household member must have a documented medical condition that is exacerbated by extreme heat. Requirements for medical documentation for a CAC benefit may be waived for applicants who are unable to obtain such documentation due to COVID-19. Additionally, the applicant household must not have a working air conditioner newer than five years old, or must not have received a HEAP-funded air conditioner within the past five years.
New Yorkers may be eligible if they meet the following criteria:
New Yorkers may be eligible for HEAP even if they own their own home, pay for heat as a part of their rent, or have money in the bank, stocks, bonds, or other resources.
Benefits will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants through Tuesday, August 31, 2021, or until funding allocated to this component by the State is exhausted. Learn more and apply here.
The State OTDA has created a new outreach flyer to promote the HEAP Cooling Assistance Component. The flyer briefly outlines eligibility guidelines and provides information on how to apply. Please share the flyer widely with potentially eligible clients and constituents. Download the new flyer here.
HEAP Application Assistance
While there is no need to come into an HRA Center to apply for HEAP, HRA has representatives providing HEAP application assistance to potential clients in six FIA job centers and in four community sites. These representatives provide assistance with completing applications and will forward applications to the HEAP central office for processing. Individuals applying for benefits can also drop off applications and documents at these locations.
The HRA sites are listed below (open Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm):
HRA representatives are also located in the following community locations:
Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement Benefit for Homeowners
HRA Office of Domestic Violence - COVID 19 Updates
The Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Hotline continues to operate 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. HRA's No Violence Again (NoVA) social workers are serving clients remotely who are referred by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) when they apply for shelter or are clients who experience domestic violence (DV) in DHS shelter. The social workers assist DV survivors in accessing DV residential programs; provide crisis intervention and counseling; and provide referrals to non-residential DV programs. In addition, we are continuing to make referrals remotely to HRA's Domestic Violence Liaisons (DVLs) who provide DV assessments and crisis intervention so that DV survivors can safely apply for Cash Assistance and secure child support and work requirement waivers.
HRA Office of Child Support Updates
Family Court updates are available at www.nycourts.gov. The Court is accepting support modification requests via the following:
The OCSS Customer Service Office remains closed. To schedule a phone appointment with a Customer Service caseworker, email: email@example.com. Please include your name, Child Support case number, a description of your concern(s), phone number, and the best time to reach you. Enter “Requesting a Customer Service Appointment” in the subject line of your email. For general inquiries, please call the New York State Child Support Helpline at 1-888-208-4485.
The Child Support Snapshot online tool allows community organizations and government agencies to assist noncustodial parents with their child support case. The tool has just been expanded to offer individual case information for custodial parents, too. The custodial parent case details include their upcoming court dates, monthly child support order amount, last five child support payments received, potential funds being held for them, and a summary of recommended next steps. By using Snapshot, organizations can find out whether or not a client has a child support case and share child support program information with custodial parents and information on how to apply. For noncustodial parents, Snapshot presents case information including upcoming court dates, monthly child support order amount, last five child support payments, potential refund information, and recommended next steps such as links to employment and how to reduce child support debt. Organizations must sign a Snapshot agreement to gain access to the system and submit the parents’ waiver forms to view their case information. To sign up for Snapshot, email OCSS at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Snapshot” in the email subject line.
DSS Office of Ombudsman Contact Information
The DSS Office of the Ombudsman moved from the 20th Floor of 33 Beaver Street to the 8th Floor of 109 East 16th Street, where DSS provides client-facing services. Currently the Office of the Ombudsman at its new location remains closed due to the national health emergency. Ombudsman staff are working remotely.
Clients can reach the DSS Office of the Ombudsman as follows:
While constituents always have the option of contacting DSS' Office of the Ombudsman directly, they may also submit a Constituent Grievance Form in writing to their shelter director or shelter case worker, as a way of presenting grievances concerning their receipt of DHS-funded services. The Office of the Ombudsman Brochure and the Constituent Grievance Form are available in numerous languages online.
IDNYC has opened an additional five (5) enrollment centers across the City, bringing the total number of open enrollment centers to thirteen (13). Applications for new cards or replacement cards require an in-person appointment. Appointments can be made online here. We continue to pause the online application process for new and replacement cards due to limited capacities at our Enrollment Centers. Services at Enrollment Centers are being offered by appointment only, walk-ins cannot be accommodated at this time.
IDNYC has newly reopened at:
Respective hours of operation at these sites, and a full list of open sites, can be found on the IDNYC website here:
IDNYC continues to operate long-term pop-up sites at:
Department of Education COVID Information and Resources
The Department of Education has created the DOE Homecoming Health and Safety Guide for Families providing updated information on returning to in-person school safely.
This guide contains information on Medically Necessary Instruction which provides home instruction for students with certain chronic health conditions. Students with chronic health conditions listed in the guide will be provisionally approved for home instruction. In addition to those conditions listed for provisional approval, any family can apply for Medically Necessary Instruction. For more information please visit the DOE website here or contact Ailish Brady from the Chief Academic Officer team at email@example.com.
There will be COVID vaccines on site at 150 public schools during the first week of school (9/13–15 and 9/17) for students 12+, families, and community members. A list of sites is available here. For students younger than 18, a parent or guardian must fill out a consent form, available here.
On Thursday, September 9, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for New York City Department of Education staff, including teachers, will extend to contract workers in pre-K, 3-K, day care, and after school programs. Just like Education Department staff, preschool, day care, and after-school workers who contract with the city will need to receive their first dose by Sept. 27.
Monday, September 13 is the first day of school for New York City students. All Department of Education employees are required to have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 27, without an option for weekly testing.
The DOE recently created a COVID-19 Vaccination Portal for all staff to log their vaccination status. Staff can upload proof of vaccination into the portal, which can be an image of a vaccination card, NYS Excelsior Pass, or other government record. Learn more about school reopening here.
Vaccination and Testing Apps
New Yorkers can meet vaccine and/or testing requirements by carrying their paper vaccination card with them, or scanning and storing it in one of two authorized mobile apps - Excelsior Pass Wallet and NYC Covid Safe.
The Excelsior Pass Wallet, developed for New York State, allows an individual to find and store their proof of vaccination right on their phone with a QR code, or to print out their QR code instead. The app will only work for people who have been vaccinated in New York, as it confirms the vaccination information against city or state records. The app, called NYS Wallet, is available for download on iPhone and Android phones.
The NYC Covid Safe app doesn’t connect directly to vaccine records. The app allows a person to upload a vaccine card and/or a recent COVID test. The vaccine card will stay on the app unless removed, but test results will disappear from the app after seven days. The app is also available for download on iPhone and Android phones.
COVID Alert NY App
The City is encouraging all New Yorkers to download the COVID Alert NY app and turn on exposure notifications. Users will receive an alert if they have been around someone who has COVID-19. The app is completely anonymous and does not track users.
The City has created materials to help promote the use of the app. Links to these materials that can be printed and shared can be found on our website:
New York State Colleges COVID-19 Vaccinations
As a reminder, New York State is providing a separate allocation of 35,000 vaccines for the college student population at SUNY schools, CUNY schools, and private colleges. An initial allocation of 21,000 vaccines will be sent to SUNY and CUNY schools. An additional 14,000 vaccines will be available to private colleges that request them. SUNY and CUNY students can make appointments directly through their schools. Learn more about the allocations.
Assistance for New Yorkers Who Test Positive for COVID
NYC Health & Hospitals Test & Trace Corps is providing special services for New Yorkers who test positive and their close contacts:
Federal Health Coverage Resources and Updates
Toolkits and Resources for Sharing Vaccine Information
NYC Test & Trace Corps has created a folder of documents for public sharing, including flyers, palm cards, holiday guidance, travel guidelines, and more. Download the documents. Learn more about how New York City is here to help with testing and tracing in the Test and Trace Frequently Asked Questions or by visiting the Test and Trace website.
The City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has created a social media toolkit with vaccine-related content in over ten languages. Download the toolkit.
The CDC released a vaccine toolkit with resources for community-based organizations, which includes shareable flyers and graphics, social media posts, and more.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created an educational video on vaccinations to help explain why individuals and their families/loved ones get vaccinated. The FDA video is available in English and American Sign Language as well as Spanish, Korean, and Navajo. More Vaccine Basics.
The City has created a vaccine fact sheet which can be found here.
Sign Up to Help New Yorkers Schedule Vaccine Appointments
The City is providing training for volunteers interested in learning how to help people schedule vaccination appointments and how to answer general questions about the vaccine. Learn more about the training.
Vaccine for All Corps
The Mayor has recently announced the Vaccine for All Corps, an effort to bring good jobs to 2,000 New Yorkers supporting vaccination efforts across the five boroughs. Led by the Workforce1 Career Center System at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, this initiative will bring job opportunities to our hardest-hit communities. Available positions include roles in site management, operations, and client services, in addition to clinical roles. Hiring for the first of these positions is now live.
Vaccine Information and Resources
As of August 17, indoor dining, fitness, and entertainment establishments are requiring proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to enter. To enter one of these establishments, individuals will need to show proof of vaccination. Valid forms of proof of vaccination include the CDC card, NYS Excelsior pass, NYC COVID Safe App, OR any other vaccine record.
Enforcement of the vaccine requirement for indoor dining, indoor entertainment and indoor fitness began on September 13, 2021. This requires people 12 and older to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for:
Includes movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums, aquariums and zoos, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, convention centers, exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pool and billiard halls, recreational game centers, adult entertainment, and indoor play areas.
Individuals who are fully vaccinated but have lost their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or need verification of vaccine status can request a record of their COVID-19 vaccination online, or via fax or mail. More information can be found here.
COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards cannot be replaced at this time, but individuals can request an official record of vaccination.
To request a vaccination record:
DSS and HRA contracted service providers have been informed of vaccination and testing requirements under the COVID Safety Mandate Program (COVID SMP). Under the COVID SMP, contractors must require their covered employees to either:
On Wednesday, July 21st, the City announced a COVID Safety Requirement for City health care workers. In order to protect the community as fully and safely as possible, all Health+Hospitals staff and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene clinical staff will be required to provide either one-time proof of COVID vaccination or a weekly negative test, starting August 2nd.
COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has now been expanded to include all New Yorkers age 12 and over.
On Monday, May 10, the FDA expanded emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to include adolescents aged 12 to 15 years old. On Wednesday, May 12, the CDC approved and released guidelines for its use. Appointments can now be scheduled for those age 12 and up.
The City has created detailed fact sheets for outreach to families with children aged 12-15 years who are newly eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Flyers can be found here.
The CDC now recommends that some persons who are immunocompromised receive three doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, rather than the standard two-dose regimen. This applies to people 12 and older who have a condition or are taking medications or treatments that moderately or severely weaken their immune system, and who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
New Yorkers receiving a third dose will be asked to attest to their qualifying medical condition. No other documentation will be required. Additional vaccine doses are not recommended for any other group at this time.
The third does is now available at all City-run vaccination sites, except H+H facilities, which will have 3rd doses available in the coming days.
Additional information is available online at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/covid/covid-19-third-dose.pdf
For more information, including the latest information on vaccine eligibility, visit nyc.gov/covid19vaccine or use the 'Am I Eligible' online tool to help determine eligibility and schedule a vaccine appointment.
Effective March 15, New York law grants public and private employees time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Under the new law, employees are granted up to four hours of excused leave per injection.
NYC Mobile Vaccine Buses continue to provide vaccines in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. The full schedule of mobile vaccine locations can be found at on.nyc.gov/walkupvax. Walk-ups are welcome and you can also book in advance through the Vax4NYC website.
As a reminder, New Yorkers ages 12 years and older can now get their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment at select sites across NYC. Find a site. New Yorkers are required to provide proof of age and residency in order to receive the vaccine. Learn more about getting vaccinated.
While walk-up vaccines are available at City-operated vaccination sites, appointments can still be made by using the Vaccine Finder website.
On Wednesday, June 23rd, NYC announced that all New Yorkers age 12 and older are eligible for the in-home vaccination program, effective immediately.
Request an in-home vaccine by going to nyc.gov/homevaccine or calling 877-VAX-4NYC.
Individuals who are able to book a vaccination appointment and are 65 or older, cannot use public or private transportation, and do not have anyone to take them to their vaccination appointment can access free of charge transportation options provided by the City of New York:
When scheduling transportation through these options, individuals should state that they are 65 or older, are going to be vaccinated in NYC, and that they understand that there is a contract with the City of New York for free transportation.
For a limited time, New Yorkers can get free tickets, memberships, and gifts for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. When New Yorkers receive their first vaccine dose at a New York City-run vaccine location, they will be eligible to choose one of the incentives listed here. Once their first COVID-19 vaccine dose is complete, they will receive an email with instructions on how to select their incentive and enter the contest. Visit the Vaccine Incentives website here or call 877-VAX4NYC (877-829-4692) to learn more.
As a reminder, New York City will pay $100 to anyone who goes to a city-run vaccination site for their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The money will be issued in pre-paid debit cards that can either be emailed to recipients in digital form or mailed in physical form to them. To learn more go to nyc.gov/vaccineincentives. Vaccine incentives are not considered in budgeting for HRA-administered benefits.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has now granted full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older. The Pfizer vaccine continues to be authorized for emergency use for young people ages 12 to 15. There has been no change to the emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which continue to be available for people age 12 and older and 18 and older respectively.
Accessible Vaccine Resources
The CDC is working to make COVID-19 resources accessible for everyone. They have resources about COVID-19 that are easy to read, resources for people with limited English proficiency, and resources in American Sign Language. Additionally, a new COVID-19 Vaccination Fact Sheet is available in two formats from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). The Easy Read Edition is available with accompanying graphics. Download the Plain Language version of the COVID-19 Fact Sheet without accompanying graphics.
The CDC has also developed a new resource on vaccine considerations for people with disabilities and care providers.
Post-vaccination resources and more information about vaccines have been made available online here as well as more information about vaccines, including useful information for people who were vaccinated recently:
NYC Health Post-COVID Clinics
Post-COVID care clinics bring together multidisciplinary teams (including pulmonology, cardiology, rehabilitation, neurology and mental health) to provide a comprehensive treatment approach to those suffering the long-term effects of COVID-19. Learn more about post-COVID clinics.
Free in-home COVID PCR testing is now available for all immunocompromised New Yorkers and people 65+. Call 929-298-9400 to schedule an appointment.
Free testing continues to be available throughout the five boroughs. A schedule of mobile testing locations throughout the City as well as detailed information on locations and types of testing offered at regular testing sites (including rapid testing and antibody tests) can be found online. Locations of testing sites can also be accessed by texting "COVID TEST" to 855-48. These are no-cost testing sites open to all New Yorkers.
The Test-and-Trace corps offers the COVID 19 Wait Times Dashboard, which displays estimated wait times for NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 testing locations. This wait time information is updated by site staff every two hours.
In addition, please note that NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 testing will be at the two sites below on Monday, September 20 through Friday, September 24 from 8 am-7 pm:
Vaccination Referral Incentives and Resources
NYC continues to offer an incentive to community and faith-based organizations to help get people vaccinated by awarding $100 for each referral for each first dose at a City-run site. When an individual makes an appointment ahead of time or arrives for a walk-in vaccination, they can identify which community organization referred them to get vaccinated. Once they receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the referral organization will be credited $100 after the program ends. Organizations can earn up to $20,000 each. Interested organizations must sign up at nyc.gov/vaccinereferralbonus.
The NYC vaccine referral bonus program has been extended to small businesses, including restaurants. Civic organizations, including community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and Parent-Teacher Associations, were already eligible. Under this expansion, small businesses are now eligible to receive a $100 vaccine referral bonus for each employee or customer that they refer to a City-run vaccine site for their first shot. The referred individual is still eligible to receive their own $100 bonus. To sign up for the program, small businesses should use the same form we have previously shared, available here.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is offering health experts to join a townhall with community organizations and/or local leaders. They offer presentations from a medical expert on the COVID-19 vaccine and participants will be able to ask questions. Audience sizes of 100+ are preferred. Please visit nyc.gov/vaccinespeakers for more information and to submit a request.
Local organizations can receive funding and technical assistance to provide free rides to vaccine sites for low-income communities and communities of color through the new Vaccine Access Fund from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Uber, PayPal, and Walgreens. Applications are open through December. Learn more here.
NYC Test and Trace Information
New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a call from the Test & Trace Corps to make sure that they receive care and can safely separate to prevent the spread. Be sure to answer any calls from NYCDOHMH or "212" numbers to get free resources and support.
ACCESS HRA Changes
ACCESS HRA released the following new functionality for clients in July 2021:
Updates specific to Fair Fares NYC:
The Fair Fares NYC residency required documents section has been updated to provide clarity on what types of documentation are required as proof of New York City residency.
PASSPort Procurement Portal
City contracting opportunities are now available through the City's digital procurement portal, PASSPort. Should your organization be interested in submitting a proposal, please be aware that the City requires all organizations to have a PASSPort account in order to submit responses to opportunities released in PASSPort. Create a PASSPort account. For simple step-by-step instructions on creating a PASSPort account, please refer to the one-page Account Creation Guide. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ordering HRA Informational and Outreach Materials Online
DSS has launched a new online ordering system for community partners to order DSS materials for distribution to clients and the public (such as our informational flyers, brochures, the HRA guide to benefits, etc.). The new system, DSS Design and Print Ordering System, replaces the Central Intake Workflow system (CIWS) that had been in use. The new system is more user friendly and simplifies the ordering process with a catalog of materials for outreach from which to order. As was the case with CIWS, each CBO requires a requestor who will register through the online application located. Shipments will be delivered directly to the organization placing the order.
If you have any questions regarding the launch of the DSS Design and Print Ordering System, please contact Robert Stockwell, email@example.com. For questions about registering or other system issues, contact DPOSCustomerService@dss.nyc.gov.
ACCESS HRA Maintenance Notification
Updates related specifically to ACCESS HRA, such as new releases, outages and scheduled maintenance, are shared periodically with our partners via e-mail. If you would like to receive these communications, please sign-up for our ACCESS HRA mailing list.
ACCESS HRA and Document Upload
Clients applying for benefits should be opening a new account through ACCESS HRA and uploading documents through the ACCESS HRA mobile app. Watch a tutorial on how to submit documents using the ACCESS HRA mobile app.
We are aware of problems that users reported previously due to unprecedented demand and traffic on the system. We have implemented improvements to the system in order to handle the increased volume and we are continuing to monitor performance.
The ACCESS HRA document upload is the most effective way to submit documentations to HRA. As an alternative, clients can submit documents using SNAP and Job Center RightFax, but this should only be used if clients are unable to use ACCESS HRA as it takes longer to associate these documents with a case. The fax number for submitting documents to SNAP is 917-639-2544 and is listed on the HRA SNAP Benefits webpage. If faxing documents to a Job Center, find the contact information for your local center on the HRA Job Center Locations webpage.
Remember: When submitting by fax, the process of indexing the documents to the client's case number will take more time than a submission through ACCESS HRA.
Online ACCESS HRA Training
DSS is offering online ACCESS HRA training webinars. These are open to CBOs and elected officials' offices and will provide information on the use of ACCESS HRA for SNAP and Cash Assistance applications as well as the ACCESS HRA Provider Portal. ACCESS HRA SNAP or Cash Assistance application trainings walk attendees through a simulated application submission on ACCESS HRA.
ACCESS HRA Provider Portal
To enroll in the ACCESS HRA Provider Portal, email DSSoutreach@dss.nyc.gov to receive the onboarding package and information on how to become a Provider Portal Partner.
If your organization is already a member of the Provider Portal, but does not have an account, email DSSoutreach@dss.nyc.gov to receive your Organization ID and instructions on how to create an account.
Authorized Representative Forms for Clients
As a reminder, SNAP applications can be submitted by community organizations on behalf of clients by serving as an authorized representative for the client. Clients may authorize a representative to submit applications and communicate with HRA on their behalf.
To become an authorized representative, service providers will need to obtain a signed copy of the SNAP Authorized Representative Request Form and complete the application on the individual's behalf on ACCESS HRA by doing the following:
It is recommended, but not required, that all applicants/providers use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Authorized Representative Request Form (LDSS-4942) when designating an authorized representative. However, if the Authorized Representative form cannot be completed and submitted, the applicant/provider may write a letter with the relevant information from the form to designate an authorized representative.
Electronic Authorization to Release Case Information
In response to requests from our community partners, we have created a fillable PDF of our third-party authorization form that can be signed digitally / electronically by clients using Adobe or other third-party software. Download the Electronic Authorization to Release Case Informatio form. Completed third-party authorization forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 212-331-4685.
NYC Parks Department Recreation Center Re-Openings and Free Membership
As of September 13, recreation centers across the five boroughs have reopened to all New Yorkers — members and non-members — for free.
The Parks Department is offering free membership to New Yorkers who sign up between September 7 - December 31, 2021 ($150 value for adult membership). The membership term will last for one year from the date the individual signs up. Membership grants access to citywide Parks Department facilities.
Select centers will remain closed for public use to continue serving as vaccination and testing sites:
Two centers sustained damage from Hurricane Ida and will remain closed until further notice:
Indoor pools remain closed to the public at this time.
Post-Tropical Cyclone Ida
Clients may be eligible for funds to replace food lost as a result of the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Ida. In order to file a claim, clients should complete the Request for Replacement of Food Purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits, LDSS-2291 form and return it to HRA for processing. Forms can be submitted as follows:
For clients residing in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, or Staten Island no additional documentation is required at this time. Clients residing in Manhattan will need to provide a statement from a landlord, utility company, or the Red Cross confirming the damage at that location.
We have received approval of our waiver request to allow recipients of SNAP an extension to October 1, 2021, to request a grant to replace food purchased with SNAP benefits that was lost as a result of power outages. Click here for the request form, LDSS-2291. You can upload the completed form using the AHRA Mobile App.
We have also received approval of our waiver request to allow the temporary use of SNAP benefits to purchase hot foods through October 3, 2021, to address the impact of the storm. Click here for more info: https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/new-york-disaster-nutrition-assistance
New York City has compiled a list of resources for New Yorkers impacted by Tropical Cyclone Ida, including food and housing assistance, emotional and spiritual support, and more. Visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/em/resources/ida.page for more information.
The City has opened five service centers to provide resources to New Yorkers impacted by the severe weather emergency. These locations are open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. Locations can be found at nyc.gov/Ida.
People who have no other transportation options to visit one of these service centers, especially individuals with disabilities or other access or functional needs, may request transportation assistance by contacting 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115).
Service center locations:
P.S./M.S. 194: 2365 Waterbury Avenue
Bronx, NY 10462
Brooklyn (Red Hook)
P.S. 15: 71 Sullivan Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Manhattan (lower Central Harlem)
I.S. 88: 215 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10026
M.S. 125: 4602 47th Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
I.S. 51: 80 Willowbrook Road
Staten Island, NY 10302
The federal government has approved an expedited Major Disaster Declaration that will help provide federal financial relief for New Yorkers recovering from the flooding damage caused by the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Ida. The counties covered by the declaration include: Bronx, Queens, Kings (Brooklyn), and Richmond (Staten Island).
To apply for disaster assistance and report damage to property individuals can visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or call 1-800-621-3362 between 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET, 7 days a week.
The New York State Department of Financial Services can provide residents and business owners impacted by the storm with insurance information regarding policy coverage for losses and suggestions on how to document their losses and safeguard their property.
New Yorkers can call the New York State Department of Financial Services' (NYS DFS) Disaster Hotline at 800-339-1759, daily, 8:30 am to 4:30 p.m., or contact the Department by accessing the website at www.dfs.ny.gov.
Additional in-person services are available on a daily basis at the following locations:
Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM) offers a range of resources to help New Yorkers plan for severe weather events and other disasters: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/em/index.page.
Know Your Zone is a resource to ensure that all New Yorkers know their hurricane evacuation zone, what to expect, and how to prepare for hurricanes and other storms. Use the NYC Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder to locate your zone and find nearby evacuation centers. Residents can also call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) to find out if their address is in an evacuation zone.
Areas of NYC at-risk of storm surge flooding are divided into six evacuation zones (1 through 6) based on risk level. The City will determine which of the hurricane evacuation zones (from zone 1 through zone 6) should be evacuated depending on the characteristics of an actual storm as it is approaching the city.
NYC Department of Education Parent University
Parent University seeks to educate and empower all families from early childhood through adulthood with 500+ FREE pre-recorded, on-demand, and live, web-based courses, resources, events, and activities focused on a wide range of topics including adult education, student social-emotional learning, and special education.To learn more about Parent University, view these short tutorials or read the press release from the official launch. Visit Parent University today at parentu.schools.nyc!
Department of Youth and Community Development – Family Development Credential Program
The Family Development Credential Program (FDC) is a New York State professional development training that provides frontline staff with the skills and competencies they need to empower families. FDC-trained staff help families build on their strengths and set attainable goals.
Applications for the FDC program are due by September 10 for the fall 2021 session. The application guide can be found here.
The FDC Curriculum developed by the National FDC Program at the University of Connecticut, consists of approximately 90 hours of intensive, interactive classroom study. The following curriculum was revised in 2015 to include the following new and updated modules:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law that extends kinship caregiver status to non-parent relatives and family friends who are raising children in New York.
Power Outage Safety and Life Sustaining Equipment
Those who rely on electric-powered medical equipment at home (e.g., respirators, dialysis machines, apnea monitors) can register with their utility provider to be listed as a life-sustaining equipment customer, and will be contacted in the event of an emergency and/or outage. Con Edison customers (serving all of NYC except the Rockaways) may register by calling 1-800-752-6633 (TTY: 1-800-642-2308). For more information, visit Con Edison's special services website. For more outage tips visit NYC Emergency Management's Plan for Hazards page.
311 Service Now Available for the Subway System
Because of upgrades to the 311 system, subway riders and MTA employees can now request non-law enforcement assistance or services for someone in the subway system who is in need. Previously, the 311 system did not recognize subway stations as a part of the city’s geography. Anyone who called 311 about a person in the subway system was transferred to 911 to report the concern --including non-emergencies-- for police response.
New Yorkers can now specifically request outreach assistance for someone in the subway system who may be experiencing homelessness or a mental health crisis or is otherwise in need. Subway riders can use the NYC311 app or web portal, call 311, or text 311-NYC (692). Click here to learn more. New Yorkers should continue to dial 911 if they see dangerous or illegal activity, or individuals at risk of harming themselves or others in the subway system.
Seeking Feedback to Understand and Support Caregivers
The NYS Department of Labor is partnering with the NYS Office for the Aging, the NYS Department of Health, and other partners to launch a new survey to identify how many New Yorkers are caregiving for loved ones and connect them to assistance and information. A "caregiver" is defined as a family member, friend, or neighbor who helps an individual with their daily living.
Participating in the survey will help New York State better understand caregivers’ workloads and how those tasks impact their work and health. Survey results will be shared with business leaders and their human resource departments, policy makers, and operators of caregiver programs.
Education Resources – Wide Open Schools
Wide Open School, powered by Common Sense, is an NYC DOE-approved website focused on empowering families to be advocates in their children’s learning by providing high-quality & culturally relevant learning activities for students. Activities are free and available for all subjects for preschool - grade 12.
Families can find support for learning at home, like tips for keeping children focused and helpful information about using online learning tools. Families can also find an overview of the units their children are studying throughout the year in grades K-8, with high school coming soon. There are Family Fun activities for Summertime too. To learn more about Wide Open School's tools and resources, visit nycschools.wideopenschool.org.
Small Business Recovery Grant Program
On May 25, the Governor announced financial assistance for small businesses experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The small business recovery grant program will provide funding to small and micro businesses and small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations to help them recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, with priority being given to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses, and businesses located in economically distressed communities. Grants will be for a minimum award of $5,000 and a maximum award of $50,000 and will be calculated based on a New York State business' annual gross receipts for 2019.
Please refer to NYSBusinessRecovery.ny.gov which highlights the various resources available to support small businesses seeking pandemic relief. The website will be continuously updated as more details and funding information as it becomes available.
The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities has developed guidance to assist organizations in improving communication with the 11% of New Yorkers who identify as having a disability. The Accessible Documents Guide and Accessible Social Media Guide provide assistance to organizations to ensure communication is clear to those with disabilities.
Online Educational Resources
The NYS Department of Labor has partnered with Coursera to offer thousands of online courses for free. There courses are available now through the DOL website.
The Office of Workforce Development is pleased to share a professional development resource, Lynda.com (also known as LinkedIn Learning). This resource is an online educational site. Users can access thousands of courses and videos in fields including but not limited to management, information technology, and education and instruction. To access Lynda.com, users must:
The Lynda.com site will open and display popular learning paths and subjects.
Lifeline Telephone Discount
Lifeline is a federal program that offers a monthly discount on telephone service to qualified low-income customers. Consumers qualify for Lifeline by participating in certain federal or state assistance programs or by having income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. The Lifeline discount can be applied to either home telephone service (landline or cable) or wireless service and is available for only one line per household. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in conjunction with two national utilities associations, is working to share information about this program with low-income New Yorkers who may be eligible for this program for the first time. Information about Lifeline that is specific to New York can be found here.
Beginning in March 2020, the Federal Communications Commission temporarily eased the documentation requirements for those who seek to qualify for the federal Lifeline program based on their income. Currently, many of these changes are set to expire on September 30. More information about COVID-19-related changes to the Lifeline program.
Service providers and consumer advocates can learn more about the program at usac.org/lifeline.
Consumers can learn more about the program at LifelineSupport.org.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission - Resources
TLC's Resource Center offers a range of free financial counseling and legal assistance for TLC Licensees, and can connect them with government benefits and health and wellness resources.
TLC Drivers also have access to the Taxi Medallion Owner-Driver Relief Fund, the City's first-ever relief fund for financially troubled taxi medallion owner-drivers, which offers debt relief to taxi medallion owner-drivers whose industry has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $65 million Taxi Medallion Owner-Driver Relief Fund includes:
TLC Licensees in need of these services can call 311 or visit the TLC website to make an appointment.
Small Business Services - Resources
NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has launched new resources for business owners and their employees:
Small businesses should visit nyc.gov/ppp or call 888-SBS-4NYC for more information.
Family Justice Centers
NYC Family Justice Centers are available by phone to offer guidance on immediate safety planning, shelter assistance, legal consultations, counseling sessions, case management sessions, community resources, and more. Find borough-specific phone numbers and more information on the OCDV website.
Persons with hearing impairments can use TTY 866-604-5350 to speak with a counselor.
Student Loan Repayment Moratorium Extended
On Friday, August 6 the Education Department announced that it would continue a moratorium on federal student loan payments through January 31, 2022, extending emergency relief for borrowers that had been set to expire on September 30, 2021. During the moratorium, loans have been interest-free and not subject to repayment or penalties for nonpayment. Suspended payments through January 31, 2022, will count towards any student loan forgiveness program, as long as all other requirements of the loan forgiveness program are met. If an individual made a payment toward their federally held student loans during the payment suspension, beginning March 13, 2020, they are able to request a refund from their student loan servicer.
In response to questions and helpful comments received on this week’s call, we have confirmed that loan payments made during the 0% interest period will be applied in full to principal balances once any interest that accrued prior to March 13, 2020, and any fees (for defaulted loans) have been satisfied.
LGBTQI Resources during COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NYC Unity Project surveyed hundreds of LGBTQ programs and service providers across New York City to develop a resource page for LGBTQ resources that remain available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HRA identified food assistance providers in each borough for inclusion in the guide. View the LGBTQ+ food assistance list.
Resources for People with Disabilities
The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities has created a resource website with information on Food/Supply Delivery, Social Security/Medicaid Benefits, Home Healthcare Services and more.
Health and Human Services Disability Information and Access Line
U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind national hotline to connect people with disabilities to information and services to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines. The newly established Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is now available to help people with disabilities find vaccination locations in their communities, assist callers with making vaccination appointments, and connect callers to local services – such as accessible transportation – to overcome barriers to vaccination. The hotline can also provide information and resources to answer questions and address concerns about the vaccines and can connect callers to information and services that promote independent living and address fundamental needs, such as food, housing, and transportation. Learn more at acl.gov/dial or call 888-677-1199 from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET.
Mental Health Resources
You can contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors, providing counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages.
Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355)
Text "WELL" to 65173
Chat at NYC.gov/nycwell
COVID-19 Related Fraud/Vaccine Fraud Alert
The FBI has seen a significant increase in fraud schemes related to the pandemic.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines.
The FBI, HHS-OIG, and CMS have received complaints of scammers using the public's interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information and money through various schemes. Learn more on the FBI website.
The FBI website recommends consulting the State Health Department website for information on authorized vaccine distribution channels.
Please help get the word out as some of these schemes target our shared clients by posing as assistance with or opportunities to access public benefits and federal stimulus payments. Additional information and resources can be found on the US Department of Justice website.
Vaccine Fraud Reporting
New York State has established a hotline that New Yorkers can call to report suspected vaccine fraud or scams. To make a report, New Yorkers can call 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) or email STOPVAXFRAUD@health.nyc.gov.
CBO Referrals from 311
In an effort to connect clients with organizations that can provide assistance with access to benefits and other support services, we are asking for any organizations interested in accepting referrals from 311 to contact us. If your organization is currently providing in-person or phone assistance to clients applying for HRA benefits, including providing assistance with ACCESS HRA and/or Fair Fares, and you are interested in accepting referrals from 311, please reach out to email@example.com for more information or to share your information with 311.
Immigration Policy Updates
The Biden Administration recently announced that they would not be increasing the cap of refugee admissions for this Fiscal Year from the historic low set by the Trump Administration of 15,000. Prior to this announcement, President Biden signed an executive order which will increase the refugee cap to 125,000 in Fiscal Year 2022.
In an effort to shift to more inclusive and dignified language, on April 19, 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sent memos directing their staff to stop using the terms "alien" and instructing them instead to use "noncitizen," "migrant," "undocumented noncitizen," or "undocumented individual."
The Biden Administration has issued several executive orders and policies related to immigration since mid-January:
The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has announced that individuals who have been granted Special Immigrant Juvenile status (SIJs) by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will be considered as Permanently Residing Under Color of Law (PRUCOL) for Safety Net Assistance (SNA) eligibility, effective immediately. To be eligible for SIJ status non-citizens must be unmarried, under 21 without legal immigration status, and must have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by at least one parent. Prior to USCIS recognizing an individual as a SIJ, that individual must have a qualifying juvenile court order issued by a state court.
Under this new policy, non-citizens granted SIJs who are otherwise eligible will be eligible to receive SNA, but ineligible for Family Assistance (FA), the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because of federal eligibility limitations. In order to demonstrate USCIS SIJs approval, clients may provide the following documents:
Any other authoritative USCIS or government document indicating that a non-citizen is an SIJ.
HRA Office of Burial Services and FEMA Funeral Reimbursement
The NYC Dept of Health has created a fact sheet to navigate the process of applying for and receiving funeral assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) and the NYC Human Resource Administration COVID-19 Burial Assistance. The flyer can be accessed here, and is available in additional languages at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/services/death-certificates.page.
The HRA Office of Burial Services (OBS), formerly the Burial Claims Unit, is now open for in-person services and to receive phone calls Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 5 PM. The office had previously only been open on Wednesdays due to COVID-19.
In-person: 33-28 Northern Blvd, 3rd Floor, Long Island City, NY 11101
By phone: 929-252-7731
Clients can find OBS information (including the Application for Burial Allowance
[M-860w] fillable form, brochure, and frequently asked questions [FAQs]) online by:
As a reminder, DSS/HRA issued an emergency rule regarding burial assistance:
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. Clients can submit the application and supporting documents to the agency by email at BurialServices@hra.nyc.gov or by fax at 917-639-0476.
To be eligible for burial assistance from the HRA Office of Burial Services (OBS), State OTDA has directed that clients who meet the eligibility requirements for FEMA funeral assistance must explore and apply for the FEMA reimbursement. If a client hasn’t received a decision from FEMA, they can submit an application for burial assistance from HRA and HRA will wait for FEMA’s decision before processing the HRA burial assistance application. Information on the HRA Office of Burial Services (OBS) burial assistance can be found here.
Additionally, if an applicant for or recipient of Temporary Assistance benefits receives FEMA funeral reimbursement and the funds remain available to them, these monies must be considered as a resource in initial or ongoing eligibility determination.
Information on burial assistance can be found on the HRA burial assistance web page. Download a brochure including a list of funeral homes that have agreed to work within the payment amounts for burial assistance.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance to individuals with COVID-related funeral expenses.
Applicants must meet the following conditions to qualify to receive FEMA funded COVID-19 Funeral Assistance:
To apply, individuals are directed to call the dedicated FEMA toll-free phone number at 844-684-6333 (TTY 800-462-7585) to complete a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application with help from FEMA's representatives. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 9 pm. Multilingual services are available. There is not an online application.
For more information, including a listing of what documentation an individual will need to have ready prior to calling, please access the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance FAQ at: https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance/faq.
Veteran Fee Waiver for NYC Civil Service Exams
The City has announced a waiver of all fees for civil service exams for veterans. For many years, the City has long waived the fee for one civil service exam for U.S. military veterans, and is now waiving fees for as many tests as a veteran wants to take. Individuals receiving certain kinds of public assistance and unemployed persons are also eligible for a waiver from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). Learn more about the fee waiver.