COVID-19 Community Updates

COVID-19 Community Updates

DSS Contact Information

Please refer to the contact information for general assistance:

  • All case-specific inquiries: Infoline at 718-557-1399 (legal advocates have been provided with additional contacts)
  • Medicaid inquiries: Medicaid Helpline at 888-692-6116
  • General HRA/DHS questions and questions that are related to these communications/changes, and/or to enroll in the ACCESS HRA Provider Portal: email DSSoutreach@dss.nyc.gov
  • State Pandemic EBT program questions: call 833-452-0096 or use the P-EBT contact form
  • Child Support inquiries: NY State Child Support Helpline at 888-208-4485

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

Previous Communications

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.

Service Information

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 PDF form. Completed third-party authorization forms can be emailed to constituentaffairs@hra.nyc.gov 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.

Center Consolidations and Contact Info - HRA Job, SNAP, and Medicaid Centers, HASA Centers

With our programs and benefits available online and in order to protect clients and staff, we have consolidated our HRA Job, SNAP, and Medicaid Center locations. As a result of these consolidations, we are advising New Yorkers to apply for public benefits online at ACCESS HRA in order to prevent unnecessary visits to an HRA center. As we have discussed on our weekly calls, those Centers that we have closed will remain closed to protect the health and safety of staff and clients. HRA will follow public health guidelines in determining when it is appropriate to re-open any of our closed Centers. A list of open centers can be found online: Job, SNAP, Medicaid.

We have also consolidated HASA Center locations, and one HASA Center will remain open in each borough. Even though these offices are still open, clients do not need to come into our offices as assistance can be obtained online and by telephone. For HASA clients who cannot or do not want to apply online, we strongly advise them to call the Service Line at 212-971-0626 for help rather than traveling to an office.

For the most recent information about this and other changes, however, please visit our website.

Home Visits

For the safety of our clients and staff, it is critical that HRA reduce contact with our most vulnerable clients by limiting home visits. If a client does require a home visit related to a Cash Assistance/SNAP issue and is unable to use ACCESS HRA or a phone call with HRA staff cannot resolve the matter, a home visit can be made pending the client's willingness to have a worker in their home.

The HRA Special Services programs are conducting regular wellness checks via telephone when possible. If checks via telephone are not possible, home visits are occurring for Adult Protective Services, HIV/AIDS Services, and Home Care Services Program clients.

Home Visit Needed (HVN) clients are receiving regular wellness check-in calls from HRA staff. These client check-ins focus on COVID-related health issues as well as food insecurity. If a client may be experiencing symptoms of COVID, they are directed to call their treatment provider. If the client is experiencing food insecurity appropriate referrals are made for home delivered food as needed.

The Substance Use program is also conducting client check-in calls. All clients are advised of the availability of Narcan for free with no prescription at local pharmacies. In addition, if any clients have relapsed and are seeking treatment, staff will conduct a telephone assessment and refer them for treatment.

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:

  • Changes in any source of income for anyone in your household
  • Changes in your household's total earned income when it goes up or down by more than $100 a month
  • Changes in your household's total unearned income from a public source such as Social Security Benefits or Unemployment Insurance Benefits when it goes up or down by more than $100 a month

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.

SNAP & Cash Assistance

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 (Food Stamps)

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 Assistance

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

How to Apply

  • You can apply online on ACCESS HRA. Read the user guide for ACCESS HRA. Our ACCESS HRA online training sessions are also providing updated information on completing the CA application through ACCESS HRA.
  • You can call our Infoline at 718-557-1399 to have an application form (LDSS-2921) or recertification form (LDSS-3174) mailed to you or access it here.
  • Fax, mail or drop off your application to an open Job Center location in your borough.

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.

How to Return or Submit Documents:

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 here.

Through an Executive Order initially and now with a waiver, the interview portion of the CA application process has been conducted by telephone. Here is a link to the flyer (in English and Spanish) for clients regarding the public benefits changes that we have described. State OTDA has extended the CA telephone interview waiver is extended through June 30, 2021  but we await written confirmation.

How to close a CA case:

  • At this time, the best way to close a Cash Assistance case is to take a picture of a written statement requesting the case to be closed and upload it through the ACCESS HRA Mobile upload. Requests can also be made verbally by calling Infoline.

How to Apply for SNAP

How to Apply

  • You can apply online on ACCESS HRA. Read the user guide for ACCESS HRA.
  • You can call our Infoline at 718-557-1399 to have the application form (LDSS-4826) mailed to you or access it here.
  • You can pick up an application at an open SNAP center.
  • SNAP Applicants can fax an application to MARU at 917-639-1111.
  • Mail or drop off your application to an open SNAP center.

They can also call BDT at 800.829.7005, Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm to submit their form over the telephone.  This process is in effect through June 30, 2021.

How to Return or Submit Documents. Need to return or submit documents? You can submit documents in the following ways:

  • Upload them using the ACCESS HRA mobile app. Go to gov/accesshramobile
  • Fax them to 917-639-2535
  • Mail them to:
    Centralized Recertification Mail Unit
    PO Box 29008
    Brooklyn, NY 11202
  • Bring them to an open SNAP center.

How to close a SNAP case:

Clients can submit a case change request to close their case via ACCESS HRA. Requests can also be made verbally by calling Infoline.

SNAP Maximum Allotment

The federal government has approved an extension of the temporary 15% increase in the maximum SNAP allotment for their household size through September 2021. This was initially scheduled to expire in June 2021.

One Shot Deals/Emergency Grants

One Shot Deal (OSD) – Eligibility

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.

One Shot Deal (OSD) – Repayment and Appeals

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.

One Shot Deal (OSD) – Client Identifier

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. 

SNAP Recertification – Alternate Timeline Extensions

Cases that are due for recertification in the months of January, February and March and eligible for an extension, whether on a 12, 24 or 48-month recertification timeline, will receive up to a six-month extension. As such, if a two-year recertification were due during the period that we are extending recertifications, that recertification would be extended for up to six-months. Pursuant to the recertification waiver that we received, we are not able to grant extensions beyond that time period.

Income Savings Plan

The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has granted our request to further postpone implementation of the Income Savings Plan (ISP) through July 20, 2021, which is the date of the current extension of the public health emergency. The implementation was previously set to resume in April 2021.  

Periodic Report and Six-Month Mailers for SNAP and Cash Assistance

We reported last week, we have received approval for April, May, and June 2021 extensions for Cash Assistance and SNAP recertifications for clients who have not previously received an extension and have pushed forward those cases. The State previously indicated that for the CA clients, the six-month mailer would be due beginning on April 1, 2021. We have gone back to the State and they have agreed to revisit this issue and get back to us.  We will provide an update as soon as we have one.

In an effort to make the process of returning the Cash Assistance six-month recertification mailer easier, we have requested and received approval from State OTDA to permit clients to upload the Cash Assistance six-month mailer using the ACCESS HRA mobile document upload app as an additional official method for submission. Additionally, clients will now also receive an alert on ACCESS HRA when their CA six-month mailer is due.

The mobile document upload feature in ACCESS HRA is available on the ACCESS HRA mobile app. Instructions and information on the mobile app are available here

Or go to the Google Play or App Store on your phone or tablet and search for ACCESS HRA.

An instructional video on uploading documents using the app can be found here.

Public Charge

On March 9, the Supreme Court agreed to the Biden administrations 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:

  • A student is eligible if they are eligible to participate in state or federal work-study, regardless of whether the student is actively employed or participating in work-study; and
  • Any student that has an "expected family contribution" of $0 may participate in SNAP if otherwise eligible.

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 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. 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 at https://otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/. 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. The form can also be accessed as a PDF document here: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/5166.pdf

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:

  • All adults are 60 years or older and/or have a disability; AND
  • No adult in the household has earned income.

Suspension of the Billing Process for SNAP, Cash Assistance and Medicaid Overpayment Cases

Legally required recovery for overpayments and repayable grants for SNAP, Cash Assistance and Medicaid has been extended as a result of the extension of the public health emergency. Enforcement actions remain stayed pending the extension of the public health emergency through April 21, 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:

 

  • Step One: Once you have the signed and completed authorization in hand, create an account for the individual at gov/accesshra by selecting a username (this could be a username or email address), password and answering one security question. If the individual does not have an e-mail address, please select the User Name option.

 

  • Step Two: During the course of completing the SNAP application, you will be asked to indicate if an Authorized Representative has been appointed to represent the individual. Indicate “Yes” and enter the information requested.

 

  • Step Three: At the end of the application, you will need to initial the application as the authorized representative, using your own initials.

 

  • Step Four: After submitting the SNAP application, immediately download the HRA Mobile Application at nyc.gov/accesshramobile. Using the same credentials that you used to login to the website, upload the completed and signed Authorized Representative Request Form referenced above, connecting it to the pending case. The form must be complete, signed and dated by both parties. If this step is not completed appropriately, the application will not be able to be processed. If you are unable to immediately link to the case, please note that application registration only occurs on business days and there is occasionally a delay in the Application Registration process, so the application may have not been registered yet. Please try again later.

 

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.

Cash Assistance Recertifications

Consistent with the Federal and State SNAP recertification extension, as with SNAP, those who have received a prior six-month recertification extension are not eligible for a second extension.

Waiver

State OTDA has also extended the in-person interview waiver for all CA applications and recertifications through June 30, 2021. HRA will call all CA applicants clients for their phone interview.

Cash Assistance Recertification Notice – phone numbers

We have updated the 908T, notice of recertification for Cash Assistance, to include a note on the notice indicating that the interview call may be received from an unknown number.  On this form we provide a list of the possible numbers. The new notice reads: We will CALL YOU from a number you may not know within 7 days. The numbers you may see are: 347-227-3301, 718-269-3231, 929-267-5002.

State Waivers Status and Updates

  • Medicaid easements have been extended through June 2021. This includes the automatic 12-month extension for all Medicaid cases with an authorization that ends in May 2021, even if the client does not submit their renewal. Excess resources cases will be extended for 6 months.
    • State DOH is not sending notices to inform clients that their coverage has been extended.
  • The State-set 180-day length of stay limit for those living in Domestic Violence shelters has been waived. We have received authority to use hotel space for confidential DV shelter.
  • We have lifted employment sanctions for Cash Assistance recipients who contacted the agency and stated a willingness to comply, and we have suspended all employment-related requirements. We have also called clients with an employment sanction to inquire if they are willing to comply. For clients who we have successfully reached, and who agreed to comply, we are lifting their non-durational employment-related sanctions. Demonstrated compliance can be established by expressing a willingness to comply in the future.

Approved through April 2021

  • Postponing the Income Savings Plan (ISP) notices that were due to be issued to clients in shelter in November.
  • DSS has been authorized to apply good cause for any non-payment of ISP contributions which were required to be paid during the months of March 2020 through April 2021.

Approved through May 2021

  • The State OTDA has granted our request for a waiver of the eviction proceeding requirement for State FHEPS eligibility. This waiver is granted through May 1, 2021 or until the eviction moratorium has been lifted.
  • The signature waiver used for Cash Assistance can also be used for the FHEPS application.
  • CityFHEPS Court Action Waiver: 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 May 1, 2021 or until the State eviction moratorium is lifted, whichever is later. In line with the waiver the State recently granted to HRA for State FHEPS, 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.

Approved through June 30, 2021

  • April, May, and June 2021 extensions for Cash Assistance and SNAP recertifications for clients who have not previously received an extension and have pushed forward those cases.
    • As a reminder, any client who receives a notification that they are required to recertify must do so. Beginning with December 2020 extensions, clients are receiving notices that their recertification was extended. These notices are also available in ACCESS HRA and in the Provider Portal.
  • No negative actions taken for failing to return the SNAP periodic reports or Cash Assistance six-month mailers due between January 1 and June 30, 2021.
  • The ability to conduct the drug and alcohol and DV screening by phone
  • Waiver extension for telephone interview for CA (application and recertification)
  • Telephonic signature waiver for CA and SNAP (applications and recertification), for clients who are homebound or have challenges using ACCESS HRA for application submission. Clients who call Infoline (718-557-1399) and indicate that they are unable to apply online will be provided with alternatives, including the option to apply by telephone. As we have reported, our waiver request to permit community-based organizations to provide this telephone application service was denied.
  • Interview adjustments for SNAP.

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). While the Brooklyn CBIC distribution office remains open, clients do not need to come to this office to obtain their cards. 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 Automated Finger Imaging System (AFIS) process which has been eliminated by the State.

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. 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 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 accept an attestation from someone who knows the individual applying for benefits.

It is critical that we continue to comply with the State and local social distancing orders. In order to do so, and keep both clients and staff safe, please encourage clients to utilize the mail service option to the extent possible for replacement card requests.

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:

  • $2,250 for households without a member over the age of 60 or a household member with a disability
  • $3,500 for households with a member over the age of 60 or a household member with a disability.

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:

  1. Visit ACCESS HRA and log-in
  2. Select the 'Benefits' link from the menu options on the homepage
  3. Select 'Start a New Application'
  4. Select the 'Cash Assistance' option in the 'Select Application' page
  5. Identify any applicable emergency indicators and click 'Next'
  6. Select the type of benefits you would like to apply for
    The three options are: Cash Assistance, One Shot Deal, or Child Care without Cash Assistance (CILOCA)
  7. Complete and submit the application
  8. Follow instructions in the ACCESS HRA confirmation page and submit required documents using the ACCESS HRA Mobile App

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:

  1. Visit ACCESS HRA and log-in
  2. Enter identifying information to 'Find My Case' and link to your HRA case
  3. Select 'View Case' in the ACCESS HRA user home page
  4. Select 'Request Special Grant,' located on the left-hand side
  5. Identify the special grant you are requesting, complete the request and submit
  6. Follow instructions in confirmation and submit required documents using the ACCESS HRA Mobile App

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:

  • Select a child care provider using this Child Care Provider Search tool, which filters contracted and non-contracted providers based on client needs;
  • Complete the appropriate provider enrollment form(s).
  • Upload the form(s) via the ACCESS HRA mobile document upload.

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

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. Information on applying can be found here.

  • New Yorkers who work between zero and four hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive their full unemployment benefit;
  • New Yorkers who work between four and ten hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive 75 percent of their unemployment benefit;
  • New Yorkers who work between ten and 20 hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive half of their unemployment benefit;
  • New Yorkers who work between 20 and 30 hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive 25 percent of their unemployment benefit; and
  • New Yorkers who work over 30 hours in a week, regardless of earnings, will not receive an unemployment benefit.

New York State Extended Benefits Program

New York State provided an extension of Unemployment benefits as of July 5, 2020 for an additional 20 weeks. Eligibility requires that individuals have exhausted 26 weeks of traditional UIB and all 13 weeks of Pandemic Unemployment. Individuals who have received the Pandemic Unemployment Supplement are not eligible for continuation under the Extended Benefits (EB) Program.

The total number of weeks of traditional UIB these programs make available to individuals receiving benefits is 59 weeks.

The State Department of Labor will send out letters with instructions to claimants who may be eligible for EB. Individuals who believe they are eligible but have not received a letter yet, should take the following actions:

If the person’s Benefit Year has not expired, continue to certify for benefits:

  • Online atlabor.ny.gov/signin: Log in to the “My Online Services” page, select “Unemployment Services,” and choose “Claim Weekly Benefits.”
  • By telephone: Call the Tel-Service toll-free number: 888-581-5812. Tel-Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If the person’s Benefit Year has expired, file a new claim:

  • Online at unemployment.labor.ny.gov: Select “Login,” and then choose “File A Claim.” It will be necessary to call the Telephone Claims Center to complete your claim.
  • By telephone: Call the Telephone Claim Center at 1-888-209-8124, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 7:30 pm

Federal Unemployment Assistance and Updates

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Allows unemployment benefits to be accessed by the self-employed, gig workers, part-timers and others who are typically ineligible for regular unemployment benefits.

Now available for a total of 79 weeks, up from 50, and runs through September 6th.

Is included when calculating eligibility for Cash Assistance, SNAP, and HEAP.

 

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

Extends unemployment benefits eligibility for people who exhaust their regular state benefits.

Now available for a total of 53 weeks, up from 24, and runs through September 6th.

Is included when calculating eligibility for Cash Assistance, SNAP and HEAP.

 

Mixed-Earner Supplement

$100 weekly supplemental payment for people who have a mix of income from both self-employment and wages paid by other employers.

Extended through September 6th.

Is included when calculating eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).Not included when calculating eligibility for Cash Assistance, SNAP, or HEAP.

 

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

$300/week supplemental unemployment payment for everyone receiving unemployment.

Extended through September 6th.

Not included when calculating eligibility for Cash Assistance, SNAP, HEAP,  Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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

As we previously reported, the Federal Emergency Relief Act temporarily expands the SNAP student eligibility rules by amending the allowable exemptions to the rule in two additional ways:

  • A student is eligible for SNAP if they are eligible to participate in state or federal work-study, regardless of whether the student is actively employed or participating in work-study; and
  • Any student that has an "expected family contribution" of $0 may participate in SNAP if otherwise eligible.

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 CA staff. HRA has also issued a Policy Bulletin informing all staff about 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, and the Enrollment eligibility form can be accessed in multiple languages.

SNAP for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents

In response to the lawsuit filed in January 2020 by19 states, the District of Columbia and New York City, a federal U.S District Court judge has struck down the federal government's proposed rule to mandate work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who receive SNAP. DSS will continue to provide updates on new developments.

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.

Additional Information: SNAP Recertification, Interviews, and Alternate Timeline Extensions

Cases that are due for recertification in the months of January through June 2021 and are eligible for an extension, whether on a 12, 24 or 48-month recertification timeline, will receive up to a six-month extension. As such, if a two-year recertification were due during the period that we are extending recertifications, that recertification would be extended for up to six-months.   

In accordance with the Federal appropriations Continuing Resolution and the subsequent guidance from OTDA, recertifications for SNAP periods ending through June 30, 2021 can now be extended.  Individuals who received a prior six-month recertification extension are not eligible for a second extension under the extension waiver. 

Please note: HRA will contact clients to conduct interviews for CA and SNAP applications. Please help encourage clients to answer their calls to conduct their interviews.  These calls will come from any of the following phone numbers:

347-227-3301

929-267-5002

718-269-3231

914-274-5743

When a caller calls any of these 4 numbers back, the caller will hear the following recorded message:

You have reached a phone number that does not connect to a Human Resources Administration staff member. For further assistance, please call the Department of Social Services Infoline at 718-557-1399. Good bye.

In September, Congress passed and then the President signed a stopgap appropriations bill which included language to reinstate the SNAP partial interview waiver for new applications that we requested. The appropriations Continuing Resolution puts the option of the partial interview waiver back in place through June 30, 2021. State OTDA has extended the waiver through June 30, 2021.

As a result of this reinstatement of the SNAP partial interview waiver, our plans to activate On Demand interviews for SNAP applications have been postponed because interviews will not be required for all applicants.  We will continue to conduct any interviews required for SNAP recertifications and new applications by reaching out to clients directly.  There is no need for clients to contact or visit an HRA Center for recertification or new application interviews.  If an interview is required, HRA will contact clients.

  • SNAP clients who are re-certifying or submitting a new application for SNAP do not need an interview (unless they are in one of the limited categories listed in the below).

Those clients who do require an interview will receive a telephone call from HRA staff. As a reminder, based on the USDA waiver, we can issue SNAP benefits without an interview, provided that both of the following conditions have been met:

  • the applicant’s identity has been verified; and,
  • all other mandatory information and verification has been provided and is valid:
  • Identity
  • Social Security number (as already required by federal law)
  • Residency
  • Gross non-exempt income (earned and unearned)
  • Disability
  • “Alien eligibility” (as already required by federal law)

Pursuant to the federal waiver, if either of these conditions has not been met, then an interview will be required. Under the federal waiver, interviews will still be required if any of the information submitted is unclear or cannot be verified through separate data matches.

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.

Food Assistance Programs

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) 2020-21 School Year

As we have reported previously, the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is providing Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) food benefits to all households with children who receive free school lunch under the National School Lunch Act and whose school was closed or operating with reduced school attendance due to COVID-19 during the 2020-2021 school year. OTDA has confirmed that the State’s P-EBT implementation plan for the 2020-2021 school year has been approved by the federal government. For students in schools in NYC the benefit amount will be based on counts of in-person and virtual learning days for each month, provided by the NYC Department of Education. The benefit amount for each child in a household is calculated based on the cost of breakfast, lunch, and snack for days the child was not in the school building during the 2020-21 school year (September 2020 – June 2021). The State expects to issue benefits in one payment for September through March. This payment will likely be issued in June 2021. The remaining benefit covering the period from April – June 2021 is projected to be issued during the months of July – September 2021. We will share additional information about the State’s plan to roll-out the benefit as it becomes available. 

As a reminder, the State OTDA has distributed all P-EBT benefits for the March – June 2020 portion of the school year. Questions can be submitted through the State’s contact form regarding P-EBT food benefits.

Pandemic EBT Benefits (P-EBT) – March – June 2020

The December 2020 federal stimulus legislation expands the P-EBT program for the 2020-2021 school year and President Biden has taken action to further enhance the program. The information in this section covers the program for the school year that ended in June 2020. P-EBT benefits for the school year that ended in June 2020 have been distributed by the State. The State completed P-EBT benefits distribution in October 2020 for the spring quarter of the 2020 school year. The State has been following up by phone with recipients who have not yet used the funds.

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.

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.

In an effort to assist organizations in getting information to clients regarding State OTDA’s P-EBT program for the school year that ended in June 2020, the City has created P-EBT flyers for clients that are available in 13 languages.

State OTDA has also created a page for P-EBT frequently asked questions (FAQs).

With federal approval, for the school year that ended in June 2020, P-EBT benefits were distributed by the State to all families of eligible school-aged children. The State’s P-EBT Plan authorized OTDA to issue P-EBT benefits to provide nutritional support for children who temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals (FRPMs) due to school closings necessitated by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Families of public school (or participating private school) children between the ages of 5 and 18 were eligible for the one-time benefit of $420 for each eligible child. This payment represents the value of school meals for the period of time from March when the schools closed until the end of the school year on June 26. Payments were issued for each eligible school-aged child living in the household. All students attending Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools were eligible to receive P-EBT benefits. As of September 2017, all NYC public schools are considered CEP schools

There was no application process for receipt of these funds. School enrollment information for distribution of funds was provided to State OTDA by local school districts (for NYC, the NYC Department of Education). OTDA used the March 2020 school enrollment data to determine eligibility by age and enrollment status.

Payments were issued as follows:

  • Cohort I: Families of eligible school-aged children who were currently receiving SNAP and Cash Assistance received a P-EBT benefit directly on their existing EBT cards. Families have received $420 for each eligible child. These payments were made as follows:
    • On May 19 $193
    • On June 16 $227
  • Cohort II: Families of eligible children with Medicaid-only cases received the full payment in the last two weeks of June. These benefits were issued on a separate benefit card for each child in the household. The benefits were issued in the name of the case-head.
  • Cohort III: Families with eligible children who were not living in households receiving CA, SNAP, or Medicaid benefits are receiving a P-EBT benefit of $420 for each eligible child in the household. These children were certified eligible by enrollment rosters from the NYC DOE. Families received an EBT card loaded with the $420 in benefits.

The State reported last summer that it completed distribution of benefits for Cohorts I and II (I – recipients of SNAP and Cash Assistance, II – recipients of Medicaid only) in June. Cohort III included all remaining NYC public school students and students at other NYC school participating in the free lunch program. Cohort III included approximately 6,000 students. The State has reported that all of these students should have received their P-EBT cards by the end of September 2020.

Individuals who believe they should have received benefits in one of the cohorts and have not received them should contact the State OTDA helpline at 833-452-0096. The State is able to look up clients in the State P-EBT database for issuance of benefits that were not received by the client. State OTDA advises that all other callers who have questions about P-EBT benefits should have their case/account number located at the top of the State benefits letter available when they call in order to receive assistance.

Because the State uses client data collected by HRA to confirm addresses, Medicaid clients who have lost their EBT cards and have a change of address should contact the Medicaid helpline to update their contact information at 888-692-6116. Clients can also use the form 751K to make this change and fax it to 917-639-0837. Additionally, clients can send a letter requesting the address change. Letters must include identifying information (name, DOB, case number). As a reminder, HRA does not have any role in the distribution of P-EBT benefits, but addresses should always be up-to-date in our systems in order to help facilitate the State’s distribution of any benefits.

P-EBT beneficiaries in the first two cohorts received funds directly on their EBT cards. Beneficiaries in the third cohort received an EBT card in the mail pre-loaded with benefit funds.

Additional information regarding P-EBT benefits:

  • P-EBT benefits were provided to all eligible children regardless of immigration status.
  • Children ages three and four who were attending a Universal Pre-K program and were receiving free lunch under the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) for schools were eligible for P-EBT. However, children of this age who were receiving care in a child care facility and receiving free lunch under the Child and Adult Care Food Program were not eligible. The Child and Adult Care Food program provides meals to children in day care centers, not schools.
  • P-EBT benefits were available to students who were enrolled in non-public schools where free lunch is provided under the NSLA. There are 450 schools providing free meals under this program in New York State. Parents and guardians are advised to contact their schools to determine if their school participates in the NSLA. State OTDA is unable to provide information to individuals regarding specific school eligibility at this time.
  • The USDA has advised that P-EBT benefits are non-transferable and cannot be donated to individuals, food banks, or pantries. The benefits are intended to purchase food for the household/children to whom they are issued. Every NYC family who receives a P-EBT card should use the benefit to buy food for their own households. If families are interested in supporting food pantries, they should consider a financial contribution to a local charity or food program. You can find a food program near you here.
  • Children who are living in foster care, juvenile detention or other living situations not with their parents received P-EBT benefits if they were part of a SNAP case through the benefits cardholder for the case. For children who were not part of a SNAP case, they received a letter at their address of record with the Department of Education with instructions on how to access the P-EBT food benefits.
  • As a reminder, Medicaid-only clients must create a pin number by calling 1-888-328-6399 to access the Pandemic -EBT benefit with their Medicaid CBIC. To do so, the client will need to enter the zip code on record in WMS for their case and the last 4 digits of their Social Security number.  If a client is not sure what zip code is on record or is unable to set up a PIN due to entering the wrong zip code, they should contact the Medicaid Helpline at 1-888-692-6116 to confirm the information.

Please note:

  • Reporting case changes (as required for ongoing SNAP benefits) is not required for P-EBT benefits.
  • Expired benefit cards will not be reactivated for P-EBT. P-EBT benefits will only be added to active EBT cards. Clients without active EBT cards received new EBT cards with P-EBT benefits.

Please remember that HRA has no role in the administration of these benefits. Distribution of these benefits is being handled directly by the State’s vendor. 

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

Nutrition Kitchens

The Neighborhood Opportunity Network is operating Nutrition Kitchens with locations in five boroughs. These sites provide free groceries for individuals and families in need. More information can be found here.

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. More information can be found here. 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.

Health Bucks

New Yorkers who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get free locally-grown fruits and vegetables through the Health Bucks program. Health Bucks are $2 coupons redeemable for fresh fruits and vegetables at all NYC farmers markets. The New SNAP incentive level for 2021 is: For every $2 spent in SNAP benefits at NYC farmers markets, shoppers get $2 in Health Bucks up to $10 per day all year round. To find a NYC farmers market by zip code, text “sogood” to 877-877.  

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 here

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. You can find locations and more information at https://www.cityharvest.org/programs/mobile-markets/.

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:

  • Fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs
  • Frozen and canned fruits, vegetables, and beans without added sugar, salt, or fat
  • Dried beans and lentils

Customers with SNAP can enroll in the program by visiting the customer service desk at a participating supermarket. See here for 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. You can learn more here.

City Harvest Mobile Markets

City Harvest Mobile Markets provide free fresh produce throughout the five boroughs. From January 2021 through March 2021 Mobile Markets will be open from 11 am to 1 pm. Each site may have its own eligibility criteria to receive free food, and a list of Mobile Markets by borough is available here.

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. The application and eligibility criteria to operate a food pantry can be accessed here and more information can be found at feednyc.org.

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.

Grab-and-go meals at DOE Schools

Grab-and-Go meal locations in schools remain open. All of the over 1,100 Department of Education schools that have been open for children learning in person or remotely will continue to distribute meals to students and families from 9AM - 12PM daily.

All of the over 260 Department of Education schools that have been community hubs distributing meals for the general public, including those serving kosher and expanded halal options, will continue to distribute meals from 3PM - 5PM daily.

For more information please visit www.schools.nyc.gov/freemeals and/or text “NYC FOOD” or “NYC COMIDA” to 877-877 to find a location.

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.

Stimulus Payments & Other Financial Resources

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.

Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund

Through the Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund, $26.6 million is available to support essential workers and first responders in New York by providing reimbursement for out-of-pocket childcare, transportation, lodging and other qualifying expenses that enabled workers to perform their duties during the COVID crisis. Qualifying applicants include first responders, health care, and many multi-industry workers, and up to $1,000 is available per household. Families who earn up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level – or $125,470 for a family of four –- are eligible to apply for the funds to cover expenses. 

Applications are open from April 16 through June 15, 2021. Learn more and access the application here.

SCHE/DHE Renewals

Due to a new law passed in response to COVID-19, most current Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemption (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowners Exemption (DHE) recipients are not required to renew their benefits this year.

The NYC Department of Finance (DOF) will mail homeowners a renewal letter if there is a need to take any action before the March 15th renewal deadline; otherwise, the benefit will automatically renew at its current level.

Please Note: renewal applications are still required in the event of:

  • Changes to the recipient 's primary residence;
  • The addition of another owner to the deed; and/or
  • The transfer of the property to a new owner.

Also, if an individual's income decreased in 2020, they have the option to submit a renewal application so that DOF can determine eligibility for a larger benefit.

Owners with questions should contact www.nyc.gov/contactpropexemptions.

For those that are not yet a SCHE or DHE recipient, the deadline for initial applications is March 15, 2021. Download the application instructions. View the Department of Finance on-line information session schedule.

Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, included in the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, helps to lower the cost of high-speed internet and computers/tablets for eligible low-income households during the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal program, which is expected to be open to eligible households by the end of April 2021, will provide:

  • Up to $50 a month to low-income households for broadband service;
  • Up to $75 a month to households on Native American land for broadband service; and
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.

A household is eligible if one member of the household:

  • Receives Medicaid or SNAP benefits, or is otherwise eligible for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Lifeline program;
  • Receives benefits under the free or reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant in the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider 's existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Eligible households can enroll through a participating broadband provider or directly with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household. For more information or to sign up to receive updates, visit the FCC website . We will continue to share more information about this benefit as it becomes available.

Become an Outreach Partner: FCC Federal Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Federal Communications Commission is mobilizing people and organizations to help share important consumer information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit. Those who are interested in becoming an outreach partner can fill out and submit the form here.

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 lowincomerate@coned.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.

Utility Arrears Emergency Assistance

The NYS Legislature has extended the moratorium on the termination of utility services for nonpayment until December 31, 2021, or for a period of 180 days after the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted, whichever is later, for New Yorkers who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. The previous moratorium had been set to expire on March 31, 2021. The new legislation further extends these protections to certain small businesses with less than 25 employees, and also prevents the termination of cable television and broadband internet services. As a reminder, New Yorkers can apply for an emergency assistance grant (one shot deal) to help pay utility expenses owed.

Earned Income Tax Credit/Free Tax Preparation Services

In order to reach more eligible New Yorkers, The Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration (DSS/HRA) is partnering with the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) to help working individuals and families learn about and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in order to reach more eligible New Yorkers. The EITC provides critical supports for workers earning low to moderate wages. Eligible individuals claim, on average, $2,400 in tax credits which can put working New Yorkers on the path to securing better housing, obtaining dependable transportation, paying for quality childcare, or pursuing higher education.

The IRS estimates that one in five eligible workers nationally do not claim the EITC, missing out on millions of dollars they have earned. We want to make sure our potentially eligible clients do not miss out on thousands of dollars every year because they are not aware of the EITC. Our goal is to reach out to potentially qualifying working clients, educate them about the credit, and encourage them to file and claim it. This includes workers who:

  • Are self-employed or have income from a farm or business
  • Have a disability
  • Have no qualifying child
  • Are not proficient in English
  • Are older (e.g., grandparents)
  • Have no tax filing requirement
  • Are recently divorced, have reduced income, are recently unemployed, or are experiencing other changes to their marital, financial, or parental status

DCWP is offering free tax prep services, and IRS certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (VITA/TCE) through which knowledgeable volunteer preparers will help individuals complete an accurate tax return. New Yorkers can visit NYC Free Tax Prep (nyc.gov/taxprep) for more information on how to file taxes for free or call 311 and ask for tax preparation assistance. Individuals can also learn about other tax credits they may be eligible to claim. Here are available services:

  • Virtual Tax Prep – In-Person Tax Prep but online.
  • Assisted Self-Prep – Clients can do their own taxes online using free filing software but phone or email a volunteer for help.
  • Drop-off Service – Clients can drop off their tax documents and pick up the completed return later.
  • In-Person Tax Prep – C lients can sit down with a volunteer preparer. Find a location at nyc.gov/taxprep.

Taxes must be filed by April 15th to claim the EITC.

Self-Employment Sick and Family Leave Tax Credits

The Internal Revenue Service announced on February 8th that a new form is available for eligible self-employed individuals to claim sick and family leave tax credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). IRS.gov has instructions to help calculate the qualified sick leave equivalent amount and the qualified family leave equivalent amount.

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.

Changes for 2021 only

  • For households earning under $150,000, the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 are not included as income for federal income tax. The third stimulus check, like the first and second, is not included as taxable income.
  • Child Tax Credit
    • Expanded to allow 17-year-old children to qualify.
    • Increases the maximum credit amount up to $3,000 per child ages 6 through 17 (and $3600 per child under age 6).
    • Eligible for maximum benefit:
      • Married couples with income up to $150,000 (benefits phase out up to $170,000);
      • Heads of household with income up to $112,500; and
      • Single filers with income up to $75,000 (benefits phase out up to $95,000).
    • The credit will be fully refundable in 2021, allowing families to collect the tax credit as a refund even if their tax bill was zero.
    • Families who are ineligible for the new $3,000 credit because their income is too high are still able to claim the $2,000 per child tax credit, which is available to individuals making up to $200,000 ($400,000 for married couples filing jointly).
    • It’s possible that the IRS will start providing advances on the 2021 credit through monthly payments of $250 for school-aged children (and $300 for children under age 6) starting as early as July 2021, and families could receive half of their total 2021 child tax credit this year while claiming the remaining amount on their 2021 tax returns.
  • Earned-Income Tax Credit
    • Maximum amount of the credit increases from $543 to $1502.
    • Childless individuals can begin claiming the credit at 19 instead of 25 (with the exception of certain full-time students). The upper age limit of 65 years old is eliminated.

Permanent changes:

  • Earned-Income Tax Credit:
  • Individuals deemed ineligible solely because their children do not have Social Security numbers would be allowed to claim the credit for childless households.
  • Increases the amount of investment income an individual can have before being disqualified for the credit —from $3650 to $10,000.

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.

 

First Economic Impact Payment Eligibility Overview (Spring 2020)

(learn more here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/calculating-the-economic-impact-payment)

  • Are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien,
  • Were not claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer,
  • Have a Social Security number valid for employment.

Payments of $1,200 ($2,400 for a joint return) were issued to individuals whose adjusted gross income (AGI) did not exceed:

  • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return
  • $112,500 if filing as head of household or
  • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status
    Payments were  reduced by 5% of  the amount by which your AGI exceeds the applicable threshold above. 

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 didnt 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.

 

Second Economic Impact Payment Eligibility Overview (December 2020/January 2021)

(Learn more here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/second-eip-faqs)

  • Are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien,
  • Were not claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer,
  • Have a Social Security number valid for employment.

Payments of $600 ($1200 for a joint return) were issued to individuals whose adjusted gross income (AGI) did not exceed:

  • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return
  • $112,500 if filing as head of household or
  • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status
    Payments were  reduced by 5% of the amount by which your AGI exceeds the applicable threshold above.

The payment will include $600 for each qualifying child listed on your 2019 tax return with a valid SSN or ATIN.

 

Third Economic Impact Payment Eligibility Overview (March 2021)

(Learn more here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/more-details-about-the-third-round-of-economic-impact-payments)

  • Filed a 2020 tax return.
  • Filed a 2019 tax return if the 2020 return has not been submitted or processed yet.
  • Did not file a 2020 or 2019 tax return but registered for the first Economic Impact Payment using the special Non-Filers portal last year.
  • Are federal benefit recipients as of December 31, 2020, who do not usually file a tax return and received Social Security and Railroad Retirement Board benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veteran benefit recipients in 2020. The IRS is working with these agencies to get updated information for 2021 to assist with stimulus payments at a date to be determined.

Payments of $1400 ($2800 for a joint return) are being issued to individuals whose adjusted gross income (AGI) does not exceed:

  • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower
  • $112,500 if filing as head of household or
  • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing statuses, such as single filers and married people filing separate returns.

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.

More information on Economic Impact Payments in multiple languages is available here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dca/consumers/economic-impact-payments.page.

 

Payment Disbursement

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:

  • Meet the income eligibility and filed a 2019 tax return or registered for the first-round stimulus payment using the IRS Non-Filer Tool; or
  • Receive one or more of the federal benefits below and are not required to file a tax return:
    • Veterans Affairs (VA)disability compensation and Pension benefits
    • Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits (includes retirement and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI))
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits
    • Survivors benefits (VA, SSA, RRB).

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.

Claiming Recovery Rebates

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 which can be found here.

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.

Stimulus Payment Resources and Additional Information

If you did not receive a first or second stimulus payment and think you may be eligible, or did not receive the full payment amount, you may be eligible to obtain a stimulus payment by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 federal tax return. You can learn about NYC Free Tax Prep services to file your taxes and receive a stimulus payment(s) for free.

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.

Federal Stimulus Funds Impact on Benefits Eligibility

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.

American Rescue Plan Payments Impact on Fair Fares Eligibility

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):

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits (FPUC). Regular unemployment (UIB) is subject to consideration for benefits eligibility.
  • Recovery Rebates for Individuals ($1,400 stimulus payment)
  • Child Tax Credit payments

Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund

Through the Empire Pandemic Response Reimbursement Fund, $26.6 million is available to support essential workers and first responders in New York by providing reimbursement for out-of-pocket childcare, transportation, lodging and other qualifying expenses that enabled workers to perform their duties during the COVID crisis. Qualifying applicants include first responders, health care, and many multi-industry workers, and up to $1,000 is available per household. Families who earn up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level – or $125,470 for a family of four –- are eligible to apply for the funds to cover expenses. 

Applications are open from April 16 through June 15, 2021. Learn more and access the application here.

Updated Federal Poverty Guidelines

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published its annual update to the HHS poverty guidelines. The chart below represents 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines that are in effect from June 1, 2021 through May 31, 2022.

Family Size Monthly Income Annual Income
1 $2,146 $25,760
2 $2,903 $34,840
3 $3,660 $43,920
4 $4,416 $53,000
5 $5,173 $62,080
6 $5,930 $71,160
7 $6,686 $80,240
8 $7,443 $89,320

For family units with more than eight members, add $756 monthly or $9,080 annually for each additional family member.

The 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines do not go into effect for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on June 1st. Poverty guidelines for SNAP are updated each year on October 1st.

The 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines go into effect for the Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF) program on April 1st.

The 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines went into effect for CityFHEPS on January 13th, 2021.

FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Reimbursement

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance to individuals with COVID-related funeral expenses. Beginning April 12, 2021, applications will be accepted through a dedicated COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line at 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585).

In order to be eligible for funeral assistance, the following conditions must be met:

  • The death of the individual must have occurred in the United States, including U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national, or have a qualified immigration status that meets the federal definition for “qualified alien.”
  • The citizenship status of the deceased person is not taken into consideration.

Certain eligibility documents will be required, including an official death certification and documents related to funeral expenses. Also, individuals who think they may be eligible for an HRA burial allowance can apply for an HRA burial allowance even if they got FEMA funeral assistance.

FEMA has created flyers to help spread the word about this important benefit.  Please access the flyer here.

Learn more on the FEMA website at COVID-19 Funeral Assistance.

IMPORTANT: FEMA has reported reports of scammers reaching out to people offering to register them for funeral assistance. FEMA will not contact anyone until they have called FEMA or have applied for assistance. If you receive an unsolicited telephone call or email, do not disclose information such as the name, birth date, or social security number of any deceased family member or other individual. If you doubt that someone who says they are a FEMA representative is legitimate, hang up and call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 to report suspected fraud.

There have been several reports that people are unable to connect to the FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance hotline. FEMA is aware of the issue, which is due to an overwhelming call volume. They have posted information on their website asking individuals to call back and with a reminder that there is no deadline to apply for the program. More information can be found here.

Economic Impact Payments for Incarcerated Individuals

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.

Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and NYS Extended Benefits Program

The Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides an extension of traditional UIB for 13 weeks. Individuals are eligible for this benefit extension once they have exhausted all 26 weeks of traditional unemployment insurance. Individuals who have received the Pandemic Unemployment Supplement are not eligible for continuation under PEUC.

New York State provided an extension of Unemployment benefits as of July 5, 2020 for an additional 20 weeks. Eligibility requires that individuals have exhausted 26 weeks of traditional UIB and all 13 weeks of Pandemic Unemployment. Individuals who have received the Pandemic Unemployment Supplement are not eligible for continuation under the Extended Benefits (EB) Program.

The total number of weeks of traditional UIB these programs make available to individuals receiving benefits is 59 weeks.

The State Department of Labor will send out letters with instructions to claimants who may be eligible for EB. Individuals who believe they are eligible but have not received a letter yet, should take the following actions:

If the person's Benefit Year has not expired, continue to certify for benefits:

  • Online at www.labor.ny.gov/signin: Log in to the "My Online Services" page, select "Unemployment Services," and choose "Claim Weekly Benefits."
  • By telephone: Call the Tel-Service toll-free number: 888-581-5812. Tel-Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If the person's Benefit Year has expired, file a new claim:

  • Online at unemployment.labor.ny.gov: Select "Login," and then choose "File A Claim." It will be necessary to call the Telephone Claims Center to complete your claim.
  • By telephone: Call the Telephone Claim Center at 888-209-8124, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 7:30 pm

CUNY Emergency Relief Grants

CUNY has established the Chancellor's Emergency Relief Grant Program in response to the serious financial hardships many CUNY students and their families face as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. The program will provide one-time $500 grants to qualifying CUNY students regardless of immigration status, including student parents, to help cover their basic living expenses as the pandemic and its economic consequences continue to unfold.

The CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund was enacted to provide funds to institutions to provide emergency financial aid grants to eligible students whose lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants are not calculated as part of a CA or SNAP budget, nor considered a resource when determining eligibility or continued eligibility for CA and SNAP cases. They are one-time grants to address a specific crisis.

Financial Counseling

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/Health Assistance

Paying Family Caregivers through Medicaid Programs – Webinar May 21, 2021

The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) is hosting a webinar about Paying Family Caregivers through Medicaid. Programs that can pay family members for providing care can help support home- and community-based care for Medicaid enrollees and help states address the demand for long-term services and supports. The webinar is on Friday, May 21 from 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm. Register and learn more here.

NY State of Health: Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period Extended

The NY State of Health 2021 Open Enrollment Period for New Yorkers to enroll in private health insurance has been extended through December 31, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage directly through insurers or through NY State of Health, New York's official health plan marketplace. Applicants for NY State of Health can apply online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov or by phone at 1-855-355-5777.

New Yorkers can enroll in Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan all year round.

For New Yorkers currently enrolled in Medicaid, Child Health Plus or the Essential Plan and have a coverage end date of March 31, 2021, their coverage will be extended for an additional 12-month period. Visit the NY State of Health website for further information.

Through the American Rescue Plan recently signed by President Biden, enhanced tax credits will become available to many New Yorkers through the NY State of Health.  Beginning in April, enhanced tax credits will be available for low- and moderate-income consumers (income up to $51,040 for individuals and $104,800 for a family of four-400% of 2020 FPL) to lower the cost of qualified health plans.  In addition, in June, the NY State of Health will update its system so that higher income consumers (income above $51,040 for individuals and $104,800 for a family of four) can access the federal tax credits. Consumers at these income levels were not previously eligible for tax credits.

The New York State of Health has a list of updates and fact sheets in various languages accessible here: https://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/resource/coronavirus-covid-19-information.

More information, fact sheets, and FAQ in various languages can be found on the New York State of Health website.

Medicaid Fact Sheets

Medicaid Renewal Extensions

As we reported last week, Medicaid cases with authorization ending in July, August, September, October, November and December 2020 and January, February, March, April, May and June 2021 will be 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.

Medicare Savings Program Extension

The 12-month extension of Medicaid cases due to renew in March 2020 – June 2021 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.

New York Department of Health

The New York State of Health has posted the following information on health insurance

WeCare Clinicial Assessments

WeCare offers voluntary telephonic clinical assessments for clients who are referred to WeCare vendors by HRA. If the client chooses not to participate in the clinical assessment they will not be penalized. Clients will also receive wellness and/or SSI services on a voluntary basis if HRA determines a need for these services.

Eviction Protections & Housing Resources

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

Federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERAP) Outreach, Education and Application Assistance Request for Proposals (RFP)

The City is seeking qualified vendors to organize, manage and oversee a broad consortium of community-based organizations to effectively and efficiently carry out the City’s federal ERAP Outreach, Education & Application Assistance plan. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for this solicitation, please visit to the Human Resources Administration’s website at: http://www.nyc.gov/hra/contracts. In order to download and submit a proposal, all interested vendors need to create a PASSPORT account, which is the City’s online procurement platform. To get started, please go here. We have confirmed reports of difficultly downloading the RFP using Chrome. For those encountering this problem, please use a different browser.

The deadline to submit proposals has been extended to April 12, 2021 (originally April 2, 2021). Completed proposals should be emailed to ACCOContractPlanning@dss.nyc.gov. Proposals received after the proposal due date and time are late and may not be accepted by the Agency except as provided under the New York City Procurement Policy Board Rules.

Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged. However, acceptance of a proposal by the City does not imply that a contract will be awarded. The City of New York accepts no responsibility for any cost incurred in the preparation or submission of proposals.

Federal ERAP payments for rental arrears will not impact State FHEPS eligibility. If rent arrears are covered by ERAP, clients may still be eligible for ongoing State FHEPS rental supplement.


Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) Target Populations


While all individuals meeting the federal eligibility criteria are welcome to apply for ERAP funds when the State portal is open, the federal government has prioritized the following groups (“priority populations”):
1. Households with income below 50 percent of AMI; and
2. Households with one or more individuals who are unemployed and have been unemployed for 90-days.
Within the federal priority groups, the City is targeting outreach, education and application assistance to the following populations (“target populations”):
1. Households that have been sued in the Housing Court in New York City in or after June 2020;
2. Households residing in small buildings (defined as buildings with 1 to 5 rental units); and
3. Households in the neighborhoods identified by the NYC Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity as areas that have experienced historic disparity and were hardest impacted by COVID. (list of these neighborhoods with zip codes can be found here).


Below is a list of the 33 City neighborhoods where there are concentrations of small buildings based on at least half of the residential land in the neighborhood being zoned for low density:
● Throgs Neck, Pelham Bay, Co-op City, Westchester Square, City Island Bronx 10461, 10464, 10465, 10475
● Soundview, Castle Hill, Union Port, Parkchester Bronx 10462, 10472, 10473
● Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Marble Hill, Fieldston Bronx 10463, 10471
● Williamsbridge, Baychester, Woodlawn, Wakefield, Eastchester Bronx 10466, 10470
● Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Bronxdale, Van Nest, Laconia Bronx 10469
● Flatbush, Rugby, Farragut, Northeast Flatbush Brooklyn 11203
● Bensonhurst, Mapleton, Bath Beach, Gravesend Brooklyn 11204, 11214, 11223
● East New York, New Lots, City Line, Starrett City Brooklyn 11207, 11208, 11256, 11239
● Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton Brooklyn 11209, 11252, 11228, 11425
● Flatbush, Ocean Parkway, Midwood Brooklyn 11210, 11226, 11230
● Borough Park, Ocean Parkway, Kensington Brooklyn 11218, 11219
● Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Homecrest, Seagate Brooklyn 11224
● Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Kings Highway, Gravesend Brooklyn 11229, 11235
● Canarsie, Flatlands, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach Brooklyn 11234, 11236
● Laurelton, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Glen Oaks Queens 11004, 11005, 11411, 11413, 11422, 11426, 11427, 11428, 11429
● Astoria, Long Island City Queens 11101, 11120, 11102, 11103, 11105, 11106
● Sunnyside, Woodside Queens 11104, 11109, 11377
● Flushing, Whitestone, College Point Queens 11351, 11354, 11352, 11355, 11356, 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360
● Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale Queens 11361, 11362, 11363, 11364
● Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens Hills, Jamaica Hills Queens 11365, 11366, 11367, 11431, 11432, 11439
● Elmhurst, Corona Queens 11368, 11373, 11380
● Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, North Corona Queens 11369, 11370, 11371, 11372
● Rego Park, Forest Hills Queens 11374, 11375
● Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale Queens 11378, 11379, 11381, 11385, 11386
● Jamaica, South Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans Queens 11412, 11423, 11405, 11433, 11434, 11435, 11436, 11451
● Howard Beach, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park Queens 11414, 11417, 11419, 11420, 11430, 11499
● Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, KewGardens Queens 11415, 11416, 11418, 11421, 11424
● The Rockaways, Broad Channel Queens11690, 11691, 11692, 11693, 11695,11694, 11697
● North Island, St. George, Stapleton Staten Island 10301, 10302, 10303, 10304, 10310
● Mid-Island, South Beach, Willowbrook Staten Island 10305, 10306, 10311, 10313, 10314
● South Island, Tottenville, Great Kills Staten Island 10307, 10308, 10309, 10312

NYS Eviction Protections for Tenants – Hardship Declarations

A New York State law enacted in December of 2020 has allowed tenants and occupants who have suffered financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic and were unable to pay some or all of their rent, or for whom moving from their home during the pandemic would pose a hardship to submit a Hardship Declaration and be protected from eviction.  Although these protections expired on May 1, NYS Assemblymember Dinowitz and State Senator Kavanaugh have advanced a bill that would extend these eviction protections through August 31, 2021, and it is expected to be passed by the Legislature and then sent to the Governor for signature. We will provide additional information here and on our weekly calls as soon as it is available.

If this bill becomes law, then tenants and occupants who complete and return a hardship declaration would be able to prevent a landlord from filing or continuing an eviction proceeding until at least August 31, 2021.

Hardship declaration forms are available to download in 20 languages on the New York Courts website at http://nycourts.gov/EEFPA. The Hardship Declaration permits a tenant to declare hardship for:

  • loss of significant household income; or
  • increased expenses related to health impacts or essential work; or
  • increased child care or other family care expenses during the pandemic; or
  • inability to obtain meaningful employment because of circumstances relating to COVID-19; or
  • inability to afford to move or difficulty securing alternative housing making it a hardship to relocate to another home during the COVID-19 pandemic; or
  • vacating and moving would pose a significant health risk if the tenant or a member of the household is over 65 years of age or has a disability or underlying medical condition.

Tenants may proactively complete the Hardship Declaration and return it to the landlord whether or not a case is pending. Tenants may also submit completed Hardship Declaration forms to the Housing Court by email to the account associated with the county in which the tenant’s eviction proceeding is taking place:

Bronx

BronxHardshipDeclaration@nycourts.gov

Kings (Brooklyn)

KingsHardshipDeclaration@nycourts.gov

New York (Manhattan)

NewYorkHardshipDeclaration@nycourts.gov

Queens

QueensHardshipDeclaration@nycourts.gov

Richmond (Staten Island)

RichmondHardshipDeclaration@nycourts.gov

The exception to this protection is in the event that the landlord is seeking eviction for causing an ongoing nuisance condition or presenting a substantial danger to the safety of other tenants. Tenants who are protected under this law are still responsible for all required rent, fees, penalties or interest under their lease.

Tenants with questions about their protections from eviction under New York State law can get free legal advice and other assistance through HRA’s Office of Civil Justice. For more information on how to access free legal services for tenants in NYC, you may contact the Tenant Helpline by calling 311 and asking for the Tenant Helpline, or visit HRA’s Office of Civil Justice at www.nyc.gov/civiljustice.

Right to Counsel, Housing Justice for All, and JustFix.nyc have launched a new website to help tenants submit their hardship declaration forms online. EvictionFreeNY.org provides an accessible, easy to use format that ensures tenants can take full advantage of the temporary protections provided by the State law. The provision of this information about these efforts is for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement by the City of New York.

Federal Emergency Rent Relief

The Federal Emergency Rent Relief Program provides $25 billion to be distributed to states and territories to provide assistance to households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will provide additional assistance to existing rental assistance programs, or newly created programs. A renter or landlord will be permitted to apply for the funds and, if approved, the money can pay up to 12 months of rent arrears, including late fees, or up to three months of future rent.

The level of funding is proportional to the population of the states, not the number or percentage of renters in that state. Funds are being apportioned not only to states, but to cities with populations greater than 500,000, based on their share of the overall U.S. population. This means that more populous states like New York receive a greater percentage of the total. Including direct allocations to local jurisdictions like New York City, New York State will receive $1.3 billion of the $25 billion.

The deadline to use the new funding is September 2021 and states now have more time to use the initial federal funding from the March 2020 CARES Act.

Details on the distribution of funding for New York State have not been finalized yet. State OTDA is the lead agency for the State. We are working with OTDA and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Federal CDC Eviction Moratorium Extended Through June 30, 2021

Under a federal order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a moratorium on residential evictions was extended through June 30, 2021 which protects tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent who provide their landlord with a declaration (which can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html) that they meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • They received a stimulus check (Economic Impact Payment) in 2020 or 2021; or
  • They were not required to report any income to the IRS in 2020; or
  • In 2020 or 2021, they earned (or expect to earn) less than $99,000 as an individual or less than $198,000 as a joint tax filer. Tenants who have received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are likely to have earned under these amounts.

To be protected under the CDC moratorium, a tenant must also declare that they cannot pay their full rent because their household income has gone down substantially, they have been laid off from work, their work hours or wages have been cut, or they have extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses.

The CDC Order does not apply where state or local laws provide the same or greater protections against eviction, as they do in New York State until at least May 1, 2021 for tenants who submit a NYS Hardship Declaration (for more information about the state Hardship Declaration, please see below).  If the NYS protections are not extended beyond May 1, then tenants who are eligible for protection under the CDC eviction moratorium and who submit a completed CDC declaration to their landlord will be protected from eviction until at least June 30, 2021.

Tenants with questions about their protections from eviction under the CDC order or New York State eviction protections can get free legal advice and other assistance through HRA’s Office of Civil Justice. For more information on how to access free legal services for tenants in NYC, you may contact the Tenant Helpline by calling 311 and asking for the Tenant Helpline, or visit HRA’s Office of Civil Justice at www.nyc.gov/civiljustice.

Fair Hearings

State Fair Hearings are continuing telephonically throughout the pandemic. 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:

  • Have income that is not more than 50% of the area median income (AMI);
  • Be experiencing housing instability, such as inability to pay rent fully; and
  • Have experienced negative COVID-related financial impacts, such as loss of income or an increase in expenses.

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. Here is a flyer with relevant information; 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 at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/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 May 1, 2021, or until the eviction moratorium has been lifted.

Updates on FHEPS:

  • Pursuant to State waiver, an eviction proceeding is not required for FHEPS eligibility.
  • The State Hardship Declaration along with a rent demand or other written threat of eviction can be used in lieu of an eviction proceeding for FHEPS eligibility.
  • The signature waiver used for Cash Assistance can also be used for the FHEPS application.
  • The extenuating circumstances requirement, to permit arrears in excess of $9,000, is fulfilled by the Hardship Declaration.
  • A Policy Bulletin has been shared with staff providing guidance on these updated rules.

Hardship declaration forms are available to download in 20 languages on the New York Courts website at http://nycourts.gov/EEFPA.

Legal Services for Tenants

Free legal services for tenants facing the threat of eviction, harassment by unscrupulous landlords, apartment or building disrepair or other housing-related issues are available through HRA 's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ). For more information, visit OCJ 's Legal Services for Tenants webpage or the HRA website. The site clarifies that in the midst of the COVID-19 free legal services are available to tenants citywide, regardless of their ZIP code.

Since the start of the COVID-19 emergency, OCJ has revised the implementation of the City's right-to-counsel law to ensure that tenants across New York City, no matter what ZIP code they live in, have access to vital legal services if they are facing eviction. Right now, unrepresented tenants whose eviction cases are being heard in court conferences have access to free legal representation, regardless of ZIP code or – with a waiver by OCJ – regardless of household income. Also, OCJ is providing access to legal advice to all tenants, regardless of ZIP code or income, through a live phone advice hotline (accessible by calling 311 and asking for the city's Tenant Helpline).

Descriptions of OCJ's tenant legal services and how to access them are on the new OCJ webpage, and translations into languages other than English can be found by clicking on the "Select Language" button.

Tenant Resource Portal

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.

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.

CityFHEPS information is available in additional languages.

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 whose eligibility is based on employment, they will still be eligible to rent housing with City FHEPS even if they have reduced or lost work during the pandemic.
  • We will automatically reissue City FHEPS shopping letters as they expire. There is no need to reapply.
  • For apartment inspections, we have created a virtual viewing and walk-through process. Clients are also able to view apartments virtually.
  • HRA is still processing and issuing rental assistance checks.

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 May 1, 2021 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.

Housing Related Information/Resources

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:

SCRIE Unit
100 Gold Street
Rm 7M-3
New York, NY 10038

HPD Section 8 Vouchers

While the HPD Section 8 Customer Service Office is closed to the public, 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, fax at 212-863-5299, or call 917-286-4300 and leave a message for the unit they're trying to reach.

During this time, any HPD Section 8 voucher set to expire will be automatically renewed. Clients do not need to reach out to HPD for an extension. Applicants and participants who are moving with vouchers that expired during the pandemic will be mailed notice of their extensions.

All subsidy terminations in process are suspended until further notice. All tenant conferences & briefings are postponed & will be rescheduled. All hearings for appeal are cancelled until further notice. HPD will continue to pay the subsidy until final determinations are made. Learn more aboutn HPD and COVID-19.

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.

  • Households can now submit Interim Recertifications for Income Changes via a new simplified Self-Service Portal interface.
  • There is no waiting period to apply.
  • Until further notice, NYCHA residents may self-certify their income loss. This means that supporting documents such as pay stubs, a letter from the employer, and/or verification of unemployment benefits, which are usually required to submit the Interim Recertification, are not required at this time.
  • Households now have the ability to contact the Customer Contact Center (CCC) to make these requests over the phone. NYCHA CCC staff is equipped to answer questions related to the Rent Hardship policies put in place in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Households can call 718-707-7771 and select option 5.

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

Relief for Homeowners

The Federal and State governments have taken steps to provide relief to homeowners during the pandemic. Information can be found here.

On Tuesday, February 16, the Biden administration announced additional relief for homeowners struggling with payments.

The actions include:

  • Extending a moratorium on foreclosures through June 30;
  • Extending an enrollment window for mortgage payment forbearance requests until June 30; and
  • Providing up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30.
  • This is part of a concerted effort to reduce the burden on homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the independent agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, extended forbearance by three months for borrowers coming to the end of their forbearance period, and extended the moratoria on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until June 30, 2021. Eligibility for the extension is limited to borrowers who are in a COVID-19 forbearance plan as of February 28, 2021. More information can be found here.

Citywide Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project

The Citywide Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project will serve New Yorkers each month by addressing rent-related issues in a mediation setting outside of the Housing Court system. The program will operate in all five boroughs but will prioritize communities hardest hit by the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Through the program, nonprofit Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) will assist tenants and small landlords in finding solutions to rental issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to resolve these cases before they reach litigation and avoid the long-term effects of an eviction proceeding which can lead to displacement for vulnerable tenants and limit future housing options.

Eligible tenants will be referred to non-profit CDRCs in each borough who will manage case intake, provide mediation sessions and monitor cases for follow-up for tenants.

Homeless Services

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. More information is available here: 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:

  • Hot meals
  • Clothing, showers and laundry facilities
  • Counseling, case management services, and connections to medical care and mental health care as appropriate
  • Help finding a job or applying for benefits

There are DICs in each borough and all centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

Bronx

The Living Room
800 Barretto Street (at Lafayette Avenue)
By Subway: 6 train to Hunts Point Avenue
For more information, please contact: Noel Concepcion at 718-893-3606 or nconcepcion@bronxworks.org

The Haven
2640 Third Ave (between East 141 Street and East 142 Street)
By Subway: 6 train to 3 Ave/138th St Station

Brooklyn

Gathering Place
2402 Atlantic Avenue (between Sackman Street and Jardine Place)
By Subway: A train to Broadway Junction
Phone: 718-287-2600

Manhattan

Mainchance
120 East 32nd Street (between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue)
By Subway: 6 train to 33rd Street
By Subway: 6 train to 33rd Street
Phone: 212-833-0680 Ext. 108
Email: admin@gcnssc.org

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
Phone: 212-947-3211

Queens

Breaking Ground
100-32 Atlantic Avenue (at 102 Street)
By Subway: J/Z to 104th Street Station

Staten Island

Project Hospitality
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.

Use of Commercial Hotels

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic DHS was moving toward discontinuing the use of commercial hotels for shelter, a practice that dates back to the 1960s. As a result of the pandemic, DHS has used additional commercial hotels for single adults who had been in congregate shelters to pro-vide social distancing to ensure the safety of our clients experiencing homelessness. Our efforts to phase out the use of commercial hotels for families continues independent from the use of COVID temporary relocation hotels for single adults who would otherwise be in congregate shel-ters.

Congregate Shelter

Any changes to the density reduction initiative through which we have relocated clients from congregate shelters to temporary hotel sites to stop the spread of the virus will be informed by public health guidance. Since the beginning of the current health crisis, we have been working closely with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to inform safety measures we have taken for clients living in congregate shelter, including the temporary emergen-cy relocations to commercial hotels. We will continue to work in partnership with DOHMH to determine when and how to phase out the hotel relocation initiative, adhering to all public health guidelines for the safe housing of our clients in shelter.

Our COVID-19 testing efforts in shelter are ongoing. DHS is offering testing throughout our congregate shelters (including settings serving individuals experiencing street homelessness) and the temporary emergency relocation hotels.

COVID-Related Shelter Updates

We remain committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers experiencing homelessness have access to safe and secure shelter placements. Together with our network of providers, DHS is working hard to protect shelter residents and our shelter staff during this time.

DHS continues to seek proposals from qualified vendors to operate additional stabilization and safe haven beds. If you are interested in learning more about DHS’s open-ended RFP or submitting a proposal for safe haven or stabilization capacity, please contact DHS at Administrator_Carter@dhs.nyc.gov.

We will continue to communicate regularly to share guidance on shelter cleaning, social distancing, and isolating of shelter residents who are showing symptoms. We have also taken the following steps to ensure resident safety:

  • Stood up more than 700 isolation beds in commercial hotels for individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 or who have tested positive. Currently, there are two isolation and two quarantine sites for DHS clients.
  • Stood up ~500 beds for quarantine to comply with NYS Executive Order 205, which  allows travelers to New York to "test out" of the mandatory 10-day quarantine. DHS will continue to use these beds for the Governor’sCOVID-19 Travel Advisory that went into effect on November 4, 2020.
  • Prioritized transfer of DHS clients aged 70 and older to commercial hotels, and then began the transfer of single adult clients in congregate shelters to commercial hotels, with approximately 13,000 of the 17,000 single adults in the DHS shelter system in commercial hotels as this initiative was fully implemented.
  • Secured new safe haven and stabilization beds to help clients experiencing homelessness on the streets and in the subways, including opening such beds in commercial hotel rooms and soliciting additional beds in commercial hotels.
  • Added a drop-in center near Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx and continue to have an open request for providers to add additional drop-in capacity.
  • Streamlined the process for families applying for shelter by eliminating in-person appointments and conducting interviews by phone.
  • Ensure that all shelter staff have access to requisite PPE while at work and distributing face coverings for our clients. 
  • Began voluntary COVID-19 testing for clients in May 2020. Those that test positive are isolated so they can receive the appropriate care they need and recover safely.
  • DHS is actively supporting the City's vaccination efforts and is operating a fixed vaccination site for DSS-HRA-DHS staff and clients in Manhattan. The agency is also offering the COVID-19 vaccine at congregate shelters and streets facilities on the same day sites are scheduled for COVID testing. Onsite vaccination is prioritized for clients. Provider staff can get vaccinated at the DHS site or a community vaccination site. 

In response to the need for appropriate shelter placements for homeless individuals who are coming out of the subways during the MTA’s overnight shutdown, we have established a process by which outreach providers can conduct intake in subway stations and provide a direct placement from the subway station. This allows clients to be moved directly into shelter from the subway station without having to go to a DHS intake location. 

We have received a waiver of the State-set 180-day time limit for those living in Domestic Violence (DV) emergency shelter beds. We have received an additional waiver to add new DV capacity in a commercial hotel if needed. 

For individuals who are being released from Rikers and other facilities, DHS is working with our partner agencies to ensure appropriate placement, including placing some into DHS shelters. Additionally, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice is finding appropriate placements for others who require a different level of services than the level provided at DHS shelters.

Homeless Outreach and Security - FY2021 Changes

The NYPD is no longer involved in DHS' homeless outreach and the management of security services in DHS shelters.

These changes have been effectuated in the FY2021 budget which includes $4.5M in funds that have been shifted from the NYPD to DHS to support services for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. A portion of this reallocated funding will cover nurse staffing for the DHS outreach program and staffing for DHS’s takeover of shelter security management.

The staff of the NYPD Homeless Outreach Unit has been reassigned to other patrols and the NYPD will no longer participate in DHS’s Street Homelessness Joint Command Center.

Street and subway homeless outreach will continue to be conducted by DHS and contracted social service providers, including the new DHS street outreach nurses and DHS Street Medicine contracted providers, which will enhance the ability of DHS and outreach teams to respond to clients' medical or behavioral health needs. Learn more about DHS street outreach here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dhs/outreach/street-outreach.page

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. Information and a list of all locations can be foundhere.

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.

Other DSS Services

Excluded Workers Fund

As we reported last week, the recently passed state budget included the Excluded Workers Fund, a $2.1 billion program designed to provide cash payments to workers who suffered income loss due to COVID-19 but were ineligible for unemployment and other federal assistance such as stimulus payments due to their immigration status or other factors. The program will allow applicants to receive either $15,600 or $3,200 depending on which of the criteria the applicant is able to satisfy. Further program details, including how to apply, will be shared when they become available.

Home Energy Assistance (HEAP) Cooling Assistance Component

Applications for the 2021 HEAP Cooling Assistance Component (CAC) are being accepted as of Monday, May 3, 2021. 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.

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.

Regular and Emergency HEAP Benefit Information and Application Assistance

The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) announced an additional $12M in funding to help eligible New Yorkers facing home heating emergencies. Households can now apply for a third emergency HEAP benefit, even if they have already received a HEAP benefit this season. The deadline for HEAP applications has been extended from April 30 until August 31, 2021, or until funds allocated to this program have been exhausted. The State announcement can be found here. Additional information can be found here.

The 2020-2021 Regular HEAP benefit season opened on November 2, 2020. Recipients of HEAP benefits may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year to help pay for heating costs. Eligibility and benefits are based on income, household size, the primary heating source, and the presence of a household member who is under age 6, is age 60 or older or has a permanent disability. Regular benefits for households that pay directly for heat based on actual usage are paid directly to the vendor that supplies the household's primary source of heat. HEAP recipients can use HEAP approval letters as documentation to support Con Ed reduced rate programs and Verizon Lifeline.  

A household may be eligible for a regular benefit if:

  • Clients and/or household members are United States Citizens or qualified immigrants;
  • The household's gross monthly income is at or below the current income guides; or
  • The applicant is in receipt of:
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or
    • Temporary Assistance or
    • Code A Supplemental Security Income (SSI Living Alone)

To apply, please contact 212-331-3126 or visit the ACCESS HRA website for instructions here. HEAP applications are available for download here. Please note, the HEAP application cannot be submitted through ACCESS HRA at this time. All HEAP applications need to be completed, signed by the applicant or their authorized representative and returned by mail or dropped off at a designated HEAP assistance location. There is no need to come into a Center. The completed application can be mailed back to HRA at:

NYC DSS/HRA/HEAP
PO Box 1401
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008

Information can be found here.

Applicants can check on the status of a HEAP application by calling the State OTDA Helpline at 800-342-3009.

HEAP Emergency Benefit

The application period for Emergency HEAP benefits opened on Monday, January 4, 2021. The utility shut-off moratorium will not affect eligibility for Emergency benefits.

Emergency benefits are available to assist eligible households with a heating emergency or a heat-related domestic emergency. Only one Emergency benefit of each type is available per HEAP household for the 2020-2021 season. Temporary relocation for housing emergencies and propane tank deposits to obtain new propane vendors are also available under the Emergency benefit component. Regular HEAP benefits, if available, must be utilized first to resolve heating emergencies for eligible households before an Emergency HEAP grant can be obtained.

To be eligible for an Emergency benefit, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • A Regular HEAP benefit must not be available or any credit remaining on an account is insufficient to resolve the applicant's emergency.
  • The applicant must be facing a heating emergency or heat-related domestic emergency:
  • The applicant's utility service is terminated or scheduled for termination;
  • The applicant's electric utility service necessary to operate the primary heating equipment is terminated or scheduled for termination; and/or
  • The applicant is without heating fuel or has less than one-quarter tank of oil, kerosene, or propane, or less than a ten-day supply of other heating fuels.
  • The applicant must be the customer of record for the utility or deliverable fuel account.
  • The applicant households must not have more than $2,000 (or $3,000 if the household contains a member age 60 or older) in available liquid resources.
  • Applicants in receipt of ongoing Temporary Assistance (TA) have already been resource tested.

2020-2021 HEAP Emergency Benefit Amounts

Benefit Type Benefit Amount
Oil, Kerosene and Propane $675
Wood, Wood Pellets, Corn, Coal or other deliverables $525
Natural Gas, Heat Only $350
Natural Gas Heat with Domestic Electric $490
Electric Heat $490
Heat-Related Electric $140
Temporary Relocation Maximum of $500 per program year
Propane Tank Deposit Maximum of $500 per program year

Second Emergency Benefit:

A second Emergency benefit will be available to applicants from March 8, 2021 through April 30, 2021 when the Emergency component closes. The eligibility criteria for the second Emergency benefit will be the same as the first Emergency benefit. Applicants must have exhausted, or have unavailable to them, both the Regular benefit and the first Emergency benefit to be eligible for the second Emergency benefit. First and Second Emergency benefits must not be issued concurrently.

Applicants must apply in their county of residence by telephone or in person and may be eligible for income deeming based on their most recently filed HEAP Application (LDSS-3421).

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):

  • Waverly Job Center
    12 W. 14th Street
    4th floor
    New York, NY 10011
  • Coney Island Job Center
    3050 West 21st Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11214
  • Rider Job Center
    300 Canal Place
    Bronx, NY 10451
  • Crotona Job Center
    1910 Monterey Avenue
    5th floor
    Bronx, NY 10457
  • Queens Job Center
    32-20 Northern Boulevard
    (enter on Honeywell Street)
    2nd floor
    Long Island City, NY 11101
  • Richmond Job Center
    201 Bay Street
    2nd floor
    Staten Island, NY 10301

HRA representatives are also located in the following community locations:

  • Boro Park Jewish Community Council (Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9 am – 5 pm)
    1310 46th Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11219
  • Margert Community Council (Mondays 9 am – 5 pm)
    325 Beach 37th
    Far Rockaway, NY 11691
  • Assemblyman Ron Kim's Office (Wednesdays and Thursdays 9 am – 5 pm)
    136-20 38th Avenue, Suite 10A
    Queens, NY 11354
  • State Senator Leroy Comrie's Office (Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 am – 5 pm)
    113-14 Farmer's Boulevard
    Queens, NY 11412

Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement Benefit for Homeowners

The 2020-2021 Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement benefit season opened on October 1, 2020. For eligible homeowners, the Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement benefit can help cover the cost to repair or replace a furnace, a boiler and other direct heating equipment. Benefit amounts are based on the actual cost incurred to repair or replace a furnace, a boiler, and/or other essential heating equipment, up to $3,000 for a repair and $6,500 for a replacement. Clients should call DSS at 212-331-3126 for assistance. The in-person interview and application requirement is temporarily suspended.

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.

Burial Claims/Funeral Services

The HRA Office of Burial Services (OBS), formerly the Burial Claims Unit, is open for in-person services and to receive live phone calls on Wednesdays only from 9 am – 5 pm:

In-person: 33-28 Northern Blvd, 3rd floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

By phone: 929-252-7731

Clients who call on any other day can leave a message and a staff member will return their call by the end of the next business day.

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.

HRA issued an emergency rule increasing the amount of the burial/funeral services allowance from $900 to $1,700 with a total funeral cost cap of $3,400. Under State regulation, HRA must establish a total funeral cost cap. The Mayor's Office has worked with MOIA and others to raise private dollars to offer funeral assistance to all eligible individuals regardless of their immigration status.

The HRA Office of Burial Services (OBS) assists individuals in need of financial assistance to meet funeral expenses for deceased low-income New York City residents. The burial allowance is available to low-income decedents who do not have resources or assets available to pay for their funeral. Proof of low-income status may include, receipt of social services benefits or public assistance from HRA such as Cash Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or social security benefits including supplemental security income (SSI). The HRA OBS can pay up to a maximum amount of $1,700 under the current emergency rule towards the cost of a funeral bill for a decedent's final disposition (which includes burial, cremation or burying of cremation ashes) to the decedent's relative, friend, Organizational Friend or authorized representative.

In the event that the funeral bill exceeds the current $3,400 cap under the emergency rule, the cost of the burial plot, grave opening or cremation will be deducted from the total bill and where the remaining bill amount is less than the above $3,400 cap a burial allowance will be approved. Under the emergency rule, the applicant who is responsible for the funeral arrangements or their representative must file an application with the Office of Burial Services within one hundred-twenty (120) days from the date of the decedent's death. To determine eligibility, an application must be submitted and OBS will assess the individual circumstances of each case. OBS will accept a photo or scanned image of a document via email and we may require a hard copy if the image or photo is not legible. OBS requires the following documentation:

  • A Burial Allowance Application Form M-860W completed and signed by the applicant or authorized representative. See application for details.
  • One original certified copy of the Death Certificate (it will be returned to the applicant).
  • A copy of the Funeral Contract also known as the Statement of Goods and Services Selected. The contract must be signed by the Funeral Director and by the person who made the funeral arrangements.
  • A copy of the cemetery or crematory bill, itemizing all charges.
  • The original itemized funeral bill signed by the Funeral Director and notarized in the presence of a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds. The funeral bill must be stamped "Paid-in-Full" if the charges have been paid and the applicant is seeking reimbursement.

OBS may request additional documents to determine eligibility based upon the facts and circumstances of each case.

Note: During the pandemic an electronic signature can be used by a person in lieu of a signature affixed by hand in executing documents and forms authorizing or accepting funeral services. NYS Governor's Executive Order 202.11 March 27, 2020

More information is available on the HRA Burial/Funeral Services website.

Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) Updates and Resources

  • In accordance with the most recent enacted stimulus legislation, t he next round of federal stimulus payments will not be intercepted by the child support program, unlike the initial federal stimulus payment, which was intercepted.

  • In our switch to phone appointments from in-person interviews at our OCSS Borough Offices for parents applying for Cash Assistance, we are mailing the child support application (LDSS-5145) to clients. Parents who have applied for Cash Assistance and receive the child support application have 10 days to complete, sign, and return it. If they need help filling it out, they can call OCSS at 929-221-7656. To avoid having their benefits reduced or discontinued, parents need to complete, sign, and return the form. If information or documents are missing, OCSS will schedule a telephone appointment with the client to assist. In an effort to reduce the risk of sanctioning, clients will receive multiple reminders such as robo-calls, emails, and texts about turning in their application and their upcoming telephone appointment.

  • If you would like to apply for child support services, you can download an application at childsupport.ny.gov or call the NYS Child Support helpline at 888-208-4485 to have an application mailed to you.

  • The New York State Court System opened virtually on June 10 for pending child support cases. For more information, go to www.nycourts.gov. Family Court is accepting support establishment and modification petitions, stipulated agreements, and motion requests through EDDS (the court's electronic document delivery system on its website), by U.S. mail addressed to the appropriate county Family Court, or by telephoning 212-343-1122 (LIFT), 646-877-6050 or 332-215-5389 (OCSS), or 646-386-5299 (Family Court) for assistance. The date of contact with the court and postmark will be recorded. This may help with establishing a retroactive date. No conferences or hearings will be scheduled on these cases at this time. The Court will begin scheduling hearings for several months in the future. Litigants who indicate in Court that they would have filed a petition but were informed the Court was not open should make this point to the Support Magistrate. The Support Magistrate will consider setting the date retroactively to the date that the noncustodial or custodial parent would have filed a petition.

  • For pending cases, the Court is trying to reach parties by telephone, email, or mail to notify them of an upcoming hearing. Litigants with a pending hearing can call the Court, and the Court will schedule a hearing.

  • The New York State Court System is open virtually for pending child support cases. Family Court is accepting support establishment and modification petitions, stipulated agreements, and motion requests. Visit the New York State Unified Court System website at www.nycourts.gov for more information.

  • For information about making a child support payment, see mail and online options here. To pay child support with a credit or debit card by phone, this option is available on Fridays from 9am to 5pm and you can call 929-252-5201.

  • OCSS is offering free remote notary service for child support documents. To have your child support documents notarized remotely, you will need a smartphone or a computer with Internet and scanning or faxing capability, as well as a valid photo I.D. To request this service, email dcse.cseweb@dfa.state.ny.us, with REMOTE NOTARY entered as the subject line of your email. Please include your name, child support account number, and a phone number where you can be reached. You will be contacted to schedule an appointment during these hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, 10am to noon, or Wednesday and Thursday 2pm to 4pm.

  • Forms to challenge an administrative enforcement action can be found below:

  • OCSS Customer Service Office is closed. Clients can email their inquiries to dcse.cseweb@dfa.state.ny.us or can use this email address to request a telephone interview with an OCSS customer service caseworker. Clients should include their case number, contact information, and, in the subject line, the reason for their inquiry or that they are "requesting a customer service appointment." Updates can be found at our website. Clients can also call the New York State Child Support Helpline at 888-208-4485.

  • Clients who owe child support arrears to the New York City Department of Social Services can apply for debt reduction programs online, including the Arrears Cap and the Arrears Credit Program.

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:

  • Send an email to Ombudsman@dss.nyc.gov.
  • Call the Shelter Hotline at 718-291-4141 or dial 311 to report shelter complaints or request repairs. These numbers are answered 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  • Call the Office of the Ombudsman at 800-994-6494, Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, to speak with a staff member.

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 here.

IDNYC

IDNYC currently operates at three sites open to the public: the Department of Finance as noted below which are open Mondays through Fridays; 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and Pope Francis Center (aka St. Michael's Church) Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Appointments are required, and capacity is limited, at all locations:

Bronx Business Center
3030 Third Avenue
2nd floor
Bronx, NY 10455

Brooklyn Business Center
210 Joralemon Street
1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Pope Francis Center
345 43rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232

There will be rotating pop-up and IDNYC On-the-Go/Mobile Command Center events throughout the City which will be shared as they are confirmed. Currently, we have confirmed the following pop-up location at (appointment capacity is limited at each site):

Veterans of Foreign War
31-35 41st Street
Astoria, NY 11103
October 19, 2020 through April 30, 2021
Mondays through Fridays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Brownsville Justice Community Center
650 Rockaway Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11212
February 23, 2021 through April 14, 2021
Mondays through Wednesdays 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Staten Island SNAP
201 Bay Street
Staten Island, NY 10301
March 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021
Mondays through Fridays 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Boston Road Learning Center
1698 Boston Road
2nd Floor (Non-ADA site)
Bronx, NY 10460
March 8th through March 31, 2021
Mondays through Fridays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Henry Street Settlement
Dale Jones Burch Neighborhood Center/Parent Center (The Firehouse)
269 Henry Street
New York, NY 10002
March 9th  through September 3rd
Mondays through Fridays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

The time period for renewing IDNYC cards has been extended. New Yorkers may renew their IDNYC cards starting 90 days before and up to 1 year after the expiration date on the card. If a card expired in 2020, the cardholder may renew at any time through December 31, 2021. After this date, they will not be able to renew their card and will need to submit a new application at an Enrollment Center. If a card expires in 2021, the cardholder may renew it within one year from the card's expiration date. Cards can be renewed at nyc.gov/idnyc and the full list of 2021 IDNYC benefit partners can be viewed at nyc.gov/idnyc/benefits.

Driver Licenses, Non-Driver ID cards, and Automobile Updates

If your license expires from March 1st, 2020 through April 30th, 2021, you can renew online right now by self-certifying that your vision is acceptable. You must submit a vision test to the DMV within one year of your renewal. If you do not, DMV will take action against your license. In addition, the federal REAL ID enforcement deadline has been extended until October 1, 2021. Learn more at https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/dmv-reopening-guidance.

“Pay It Off” Extended Through April – Child Support Debt Reduction – One More Week

The Pay It Off Child Support Debt Reduction Program began on March 1 and was originally scheduled to run through March 31 — we have now extended the program through April 30, with one more week to participate. Pay It Off allows noncustodial parents to reduce their child support debt owed to the New York City Department of Social Services (NYC DSS) twice as fast. For this limited time, noncustodial parents can get qualified payments matched dollar for dollar. More information can be found at nyc.gov/payitoff.

COVID Health Resources

DOE School COVID-19 Closures

As of April 12, school buildings will no longer close for 10 days when two unrelated COVID cases are detected. Rather than entire buildings closing, individual schools will turn to remote learning if there are four or more cases within a week in different classrooms, and if test and trace investigators find that these cases were contracted inside of the school. School buildings will no longer close for 24-hours when cases are detected, but individual classrooms will still close for ten days when someone tests positive for the virus. You can view the new policy details on the NYC DOE website under “Cases in a School” at: https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-year-20-21/return-to-school-2020/health-and-safety.

New York State Colleges COVID-19 Vaccinations

New York State is providing a new, 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. More information is available here.

Updated Guidance for Infection Rates on College Campuses

On February 19, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced updated guidance for infection rates and testing protocols on college campuses. More information can be found here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-releases-updated-guidance-infection-rates-and-testing-protocols-college-campuses.

Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity Vaccine Prioritization

Increasing vaccine access points in local communities is effective in fighting disparity in the vaccine rollout and countering the disparate impact of COVID-19. The temporary onsite clinics at New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and senior buildings have increased access to the vaccine by meeting seniors where they are, particularly in the City's Taskforce-identified neighborhoods that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity have released an expanded list of 33 COVID-impacted neighborhoods identified by the Taskforce, where the City will broaden its outreach and education to address vaccine hesitancy, prioritize appointments, add new vaccine sites, and improve the scheduling website to ensure the pace of vaccination is consistent throughout the city. City vaccination sites in Taskforce neighborhoods are now prioritizing appointments for neighborhood residents, setting aside specific hours and slots. For eligible essential workers in the Taskforce neighborhoods, the City will create "family plans" - allowing the workers to schedule appointments for eligible family members on-site. More information and a full list of neighborhoods can be found here.

To improve accessibility, the City's appointment scheduling site will now be available in a total of 11 languages, including English, Arabic, Urdu, Bengali, French, Haitian-Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese.

Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program

The Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program is a partnership between the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) and the CDC that allocates vaccine doses directly to select HRSA-funded health centers that specialize in caring for hard-to-reach and disproportionately affected populations. On April 7, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that all HRSA-funded health centers and Health Center Program look-alikes (LALs) will now be invited to participate in the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program and have COVID-19 vaccinations directly allocated to them. Learn more about the program and see a list of participating and invited centers here.

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:

  • “Take Care” packages which include enough personal protective equipment for a household of three to quarantine for 10-14 days. Learn more here.
  • A free hotel room for up to 14 days if quarantining at home is impossible. Click here to learn more or call (212) 268-4319 to book a room.
  • Free dog walking and other pet drop-in services to ensure New Yorkers can remain safely separated in a hotel or at home. Learn more here.

Citizen Public Health Training

Citizen Public Health Training is New York State’s free new course to help people recover from the pandemic and prepare for future health crises. In partnership with Cornell University, the 16-hour online course will focus on health communication and community engagement to empower New Yorkers as public health leaders; the course is available beginning Friday, April 30th. Register here and preview course materials.

Federal Health Coverage Resources and Updates

  • COBRA payments will be covered in full by the government from April 1st through September 30th. People who leave a job voluntarily are not eligible, and someone who qualifies for new, employer-based health insurance before September 30th would lose eligibility for the no-cost coverage.
  • New federal requirements lower the cost of health insurance via a government exchange, and caps premiums for those plans at 8.5% of adjusted gross income. Will begin immediately and last through 2022; individuals will not have to re-enroll to access the lower prices.
  • Open enrollment period still open through May 15th.
  • If an employer allows, an individual can set aside $10,500 in a dependent care flexible spending account for 2021 (up from the usual $5000).
  • Eliminates premiums for those collecting unemployment benefits in 2021.
  • Increases federal Medicaid matching funds to states by 5% for two years, to encourage states to expand Medicaid to low-income adults.

Nursing Home Visitation

New, revised nursing home visitation guidance is currently in effect and aligns with guidelines recently released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The guidance permits visitation at all times and for all residents with limited exceptions for unvaccinated residents in areas of high community spread and lower resident vaccination rates, residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, or those in isolation or quarantine. Facilities must continue to adhere to strong infection control practices. .

Nursing Home Visitation

As of April 1, 2021, domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory. While no longer required, the NYS Department of Health still recommends quarantine after domestic travel as an added precaution. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. All travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form. Individuals should continue strict adherence to all safety guidelines to stop the spread—wearing masks, socially distancing and avoiding gatherings.

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. The documents are available here: https://bit.ly/NYCweeklytestingsites. 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.

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. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/vaccinetrainthetrainer.

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 here.

Vaccine Eligibility for HASA Clients

As of February 15, New Yorkers who are immunocompromised are eligible for the COVID vaccine under State's tier 1b eligibility criteria, including individuals with HIV/AIDS. HASA case managers are discussing this information with clients during telephonic wellness checks and assisting clients with vaccine appointment registration when necessary. This information will also be posted on ACCESS HRA in an effort to ensure that clients are aware of their eligibility.

Vaccine Information and Resources

Eligibility:

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has now been expanded to include all New Yorkers age 16 and over.

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.

Employee Leave for Vaccines

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. 

Appointments:

As of Wednesday, April 28, you can schedule an appointment at a mobile NYC Vax Bus through the Vax4NYC website. The buses will continue to provide walkup vaccinations for all New Yorkers 18 and up.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance on use of masks among fully vaccinated individuals.  On April 28, 2021, the CDC updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals indicating that they can gather outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings or venues. Fully vaccinated, as defined by the CDC, is two weeks after having had both vaccine doses (or a single dose in the case of Johnson and Johnson vaccine).

New Yorkers ages 16 years and older can now get their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment at select sites across NYC. Sites can be found here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/vaccines/covid-19-vaccines.page#walk-up-sites.  New Yorkers are required to provide proof of age and residency in order to receive the vaccine. Additional information can be found here.

Locations:

Pharmacies have expanded vaccine distribution to include:

  • Individuals age 60 and older
  • P-12 school faculty and staff
  • Childcare workers
  • Those with eligible underlying conditions 

In order to accommodate high school reopening, vaccine hubs located in high schools will be closing. Some will continue to offer second doses for some time. If a site is closing, those individuals scheduled for a second dose at that site will be automatically rescheduled and notified of the change via text, call, or email.

Vaccine Sites Added to MTA Subway Maps

Coronavirus vaccination sites located across New York City have been added to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's digital subway map.

Clicking on each site on the map pulls up specific information about the center, including the type of vaccine administered there, eligibility restrictions, hours of operation, and a link to schedule an appointment.

Veterans

Eligible veterans who are enrolled in VA Healthcare, as well as their spouses and caregivers can receive vaccinations at VA New York Harbor at various locations. Call 877-877-9267 or click here for a list of locations and to learn more.

Bodega Workers:

Bodega associations will receive 1,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson to vaccinate bodega workers this month. Members can email United Bodegas of America (mamayor0307@yahoo.com) or the Yemeni American Merchants Association (info@yamausa.org) to register for an appointment. Once the 1,000 appointments are booked, bodega workers can click here to see how to register for an appointment at a City, State, pharmacy, or private site. 

Vaccination Resources for Seniors

Beginning on Saturday, April 17th, New Yorkers who are 50 and older are able to walk into City-run vaccine sites and get vaccinated without an appointment. Previously, walk-in appointments were exclusively for New Yorkers 75 and older. 

In addition, one individual who is otherwise eligible for the vaccine (currently any New Yorker age 16 and above) may escort that 50+ New Yorker and also receive an immediate appointment. New Yorkers 50 and older must show proof of age upon arrival at the vaccination site to receive the immediate appointment.

If the 50+ individual brings a companion age 16 or 17, the companion can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. As such, if the Pfizer vaccine is not available at the vaccine site they will not be able to receive the vaccine at the same time as the vaccine recipient who is 50+. Site specific information can be found on nyc.gov/vaccinefinder.

The City-run sites offering walk-up appointments to New Yorkers 50 and older are:

BRONX

  1. Bronx Co-Op City Dreiser Community Center
  2. Northeast Bronx YMCA (Edenwald)
  3. South Bronx Educational Campus
  4. West Bronx Gymnasium
  5. Lehman College - Apex Center
  6. Bathgate Contract Postal Station

BROOKLYN

  1. Coney Island YMCA
  2. Teachers Prep High School
  3. Starrett City
  4. Flatbush YMCA
  5. Bushwick Educational Campus
  6. Event Space at City Point 
  7. Brooklyn Army Terminal

MANHATTAN

  1. Ford Foundation
  2. NFL Experience Times Square
  3. Yeshiva University
  4. City College 
  5. Essex Crossing
  6. Abyssinian Baptist Church
  7. Fulton Senior Community Center / Hudson Guild

QUEENS

  1. Modell's - Queens Center Mall
  2. Korean Community Services
  3. Beach Channel Educational Campus
  4. Long Island City Vaccine Site (Plaxall)
  5. Queens Public Library - Flushing Library
  6. Queens Public Library - Ozone 
  7. CitiField

STATEN ISLAND

  1. Former Babies R Us - Staten Island Mall
  2. Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex
  3. Empire Outlets
  4. Thomas St. Joseph's School

For all others, New Yorkers can schedule appointments and locate their nearest vaccine site by visiting nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or calling 1-877-VAX-4-NYC.

Additional Information

The in-home vaccination program is continuing. Homebound New Yorkers interested in receiving an in-home vaccination can sign up at nyc.gov/homebound or by calling 1-877-VAX-4-NYC.

The City is working with Department for the Aging, home health care agencies, and meal delivery programs to identify seniors who are eligible for an in-home vaccination. New Yorkers who believe they are eligible can express interest using this form (and will receive a call back from the City). Additionally, eligible seniors can sign up to take part in the program by calling 877-VAX-4-NYC or visiting vax4nyc.nyc.gov. We are working with HRA homebound clients to make sure that they are aware of the availability of the vaccine on outreach calls we are making to these clients. We are also providing assistance signing up for the vaccine to those clients who express a need for help in doing so.

 

Free Transportation to Vaccine Appointments for Seniors:

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:

  • Individuals who use Access-a-Ride, Medicaid-provided, or Medicare-provided transportation can schedule rides as they normally would.
  • Individuals who do not use Access-a-Ride, Medicaid-provided or Medicare-provided transportation, and are 65+, homebound or have a disability and require ambulette transportation can schedule a free ride to their vaccination site through Hunter (Ambulette): 718-991-2211.
  • Individuals 65 or older who do not qualify for any of the above services can schedule a free cab ride through Curbed at 646-349-0289.

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.

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. Click here to 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.

Personal Protective Equipment Refunds

Pursuant to State Department of Financial Services guidance, New Yorkers who have been charged for PPE by their in-network providers are eligible for refunds from the Department of Financial Services. New Yorkers with complaints about an insurance policy can contact DFS at www.dfs.ny.gov/complaint or through the DFS Consumer Hotline at 212-480-6400 or 518-474-6600. Learn more on the New York State Governor's website.

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. Click here to find out more information.

Department of Education COVID-19 Testing

The NYC Test and Trace Corps is testing New York City public school children and teachers. In order to do this, schools must obtain consent from parents and guardians of school children. Please help NYC get the word out about this critical initiative in order to ensure participation from families with children attending NYC public schools. Learn more and download a consent form.

COVID Alert NY

COVID Alert NY is New York State's official Exposure Notification App created by the New York State Department of Health in collaboration with Google and Apple. This is a free smartphone app for anyone 18+ that lives and/or works in New York and is available for download in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The COVID Alert NY app notifies users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Upon receiving an exposure notification, the app will encourage users to contact their physician or the State Health Department hotline at 833-227-5045 to get more information about quarantining and testing.

Anyone who downloads the app does not have to worry about being tracked, identified or having their personal information shared. The app is completely anonymous and does not track a user's location or movement. No personal data is collected. COVID Alert NY uses safe and secure Bluetooth proximity-enabled exposure notification technology provided by Apple and Google. For more information or to download the app, please visit the COVID Alert NY website.

COVID-19 Testing

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 here. 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.

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 + Vaccines: A South Asian Community Conversation

Join the NYC Health Commissioner, the Senior Adviser for Public Health in the New York City Office of the Mayor, and the Senior Liaison for the City of New York’s Community Affairs Unit for an intimate conversation around keeping the South Asian community safe during the pandemic.  

Wednesday, April 28  

7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Register: on.NYC.Gov/SouthAsianTRIE

New York Forward Rapid Testing Program

New York is expanding the New York Forward Rapid Testing Program to help businesses and events safely reopen. Twenty-five new sites opened on Thursday, April 1, and 10 new sites will open within the next two weeks for a total of 70 sites statewide. The New York Forward Rapid Test Program provides affordable rapid (30 minutes or less) COVID tests at locations across the State. Learn more.

Vaccine Call Center for CBOs

The NYC Test and Trace Corps has developed a quick and easy way to help CBOs get their networks vaccinated. There is now a Call Center that will make appointment calls on their behalf. The process to participate is very simple. All CBOs have to do is submit a single spreadsheet with each individual 

No other sensitive information is needed. Once this information is received, the Call Center will reach out and schedule vaccination appointments for locations throughout the city.

Organizations interested in this opportunity should fill out the CBO Vaccine Scheduling Form right away: https://bit.ly/3tTFbIT

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.

Learn more about how New York City is here to help with testing and tracing in this Test and Trace FAQ or by visiting www.testandtrace.nyc.

ACCESS HRA & Provider Resources

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 click here to 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:

  • Step One: Once you have the signed and completed authorization in hand, create an account for the individual at nyc.gov/accesshra by selecting a username (this could be a username or email address), password and answering one security question. If the individual does not have an e-mail address, please select the User Name option.

  • Step Two: During the course of completing the SNAP application, you will be asked to indicate if an Authorized Representative has been appointed to represent the individual. Indicate "Yes" and enter the information requested.

  • Step Three: At the end of the application, you will need to initial the application as the authorized representative, using your own initials.

  • Step Four: After submitting the SNAP application, immediately download the HRA Mobile Application at www.nyc.gov/accesshramobile. Using the same credentials that you used to login to the website, upload the completed and signed Authorized Representative Request Form referenced above, connecting it to the pending case. The form must be complete, signed and dated by both parties. If this step is not completed appropriately, the application will not be able to be processed. If you are unable to immediately link to the case, please note that application registration only occurs on business days and there is occasionally a delay in the Application Registration process, so the application may have not been registered yet. Please try again later.

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 constituentaffairs@hra.nyc.gov or faxed to 212-331-4685.

Other Information/Resources

Summer Rising Grades K-8

Summer Rising is New York City’s free summer program for any City child in grades K–8, including students with disabilities, who wants to participate. Families can sign up through the Discover DYCD website. Schools will also reach out to families to encourage them to sign up and help them do so.

A Call to Action: Eliminating Compounded Disparities for People with Disabilities in a Year of COVID-19 (Friday, May 14th from 8:30am-1:30pm)

Join AHRC NYC, Pace University, and Georgetown University, along with DSS and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for an online Symposium, featuring presentations and workshops that explore the intersectionality of disability, race, ethnicity, gender identity, culture and the political determinants of health. Featured speakers include, among many others:  Daniel E. Dawes, noted author and Executive Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine; Judy Heumann, international disability advocate, founder of Disabled in Action and star of the 2021 Academy Award-nominated film Crip Camp;  Lydia X. Z. Brown, disability justice advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, and writer; Britney Wilson, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Civil Rights and Disability Justice Clinic, New York Law School.

Learn more and register here: https://www.ahrcnyc.org/2021-symposium/ 

Accessibility Guides

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.
 

NYC Unity Works – Workforce Development Project

NYC Unity Works is a new initiative launched through a partnership between the NYC Unity Project, the Administration’s citywide LGBTQI policy and programming initiative, and the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest LGBTQI homeless youth service provider. The program will be a comprehensive workforce development program for LGBTQI communities, and will specifically focus on supporting homeless and runaway LGBTQI youth by connecting them to a full suite of services including basic and higher educational opportunities; paid internships and training, work credentials, and job placements; career coaching, and comprehensive, LGBTQI affirming case management that incorporates full wraparound supports and mental health counseling  Click here for more information.

Online Educational Resources

Coursera.com

The NYS Department of Labor has partnered with Coursera to offer thousands of online courses for free. There courses are available now through https://dol.ny.gov/online-learning-coursera.

Lynda.com

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: 

  1. Have orobtain a New York Public Library (NYPL) card,
  2. Access the “com for NYPL” site by clickinghttps://www.nypl.org/collections/articles-databases/lyndacom,
  3. Select the Connect to database link (found in the center section of the page),
  4. Enter the library card number and library card pin where indicated, and
  5. Create your Lynda.com profile by entering your first name, last name and e-mail address, then click the Save button.

The Lynda.com site will open and display popular learning paths and subjects.

Weekly Remote Learning Support Sessions for Parents and Caregivers

The Office of Congressman Espaillat (NY-13) and the Manhattan Borough/Citywide Office of the Department of Education have outlined a program where each week they will offer a ZOOM Online Training to Parent/Caregivers in need of assistance with remote learning. Sessions will cover a range of topics, ranging from navigating remote learning for students with disabilities, multilingual learners, and more. Sessions will be led by leaders at the NYC Department of Education and will be available both live and for viewing later. You can learn more about the full schedule of events and register to attend a session or view it later.

Social Security Benefits Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) 2021

The Social Security Administration announced on October 13, 2020 that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021 will be 1.3%. The new benefit amount went into effect for recipients of Social Security in January 2021. For those receiving Supplemental Security Income, the new benefit amount went into effect on December 31, 2020. Recipients can create an account and check their benefits online.

Social Security Administration Assistance

Most Social Security services can be completed on the Social Security Adminstrations' website. Questions can also be answered by phone at 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778), or by calling a local Social Security office. Some services may require a face-to-face interview, especially for dire need situations and critical cases. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to keep the public and SSA employees safe, in-person assistance is limited to appointment only for certain dire need situations.

Those with a dire need situation who have been unable to get the help they need can contact the Regional Public Affairs Office at 212-264-2500 or ny.rpa@ssa.gov.

The SUNY Online Training Center

SUNY is providing a wide range of short and free online skill-building programs to help prepare individuals for a new job. After an individual successfully completes a program certificate (and has a high school diploma), they will be eligible for automatic enrollment to any SUNY community college or SUNY Empire to continue to an associate or bachelor's degree. Learn more on the SUNY website.

Discounted Telephone/Wireless Service Through Lifeline

Lifeline is a federal program that offers a monthly discount to qualified low-income customers. 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 has temporarily eased the documentation requirements for those who seek to qualify for the federal Lifeline program based on their income. Learn more on the USAC website.

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:

●        0% interest loans of up to $20,000 to use as a down payment to assist in restructuring medallion debt.

●        Up to $9,000 in no-interest loans to make as many as six monthly loan payments of $1,500.

TLC Licensees in need of these services can call 311 or visit nyc.gov/taxi to make an appointment.

Small Business Services - Resources

The City’s Department of Small Business Services has shared their new “Find a Job” page, which lists open employment listings from across NYC. Learn more and search the listings.

NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has launched new resources for business owners and their employees:

  • Training for Your Employees” provides business owners and their employees with training in digital literacy, marketing tools, online security, and COVID-19 safety. The online, no-cost training program will provide classes on digital platforms including the Google Workspace, Zoom, Microsoft Office, and more. Live instruction will be provided and select courses will be available in Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin). Businesses can learn more about the program’s eligibility criteria and access the application here.

Small businesses should visit nyc.gov/ppp or call 888-SBS-4NYC for more information.

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The deadline for applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been extended to May 31, 2021. The program currently offers

  • First Draw PPP Loans for first-time program participants, and
  • Second Draw PPP Loans for certain businesses who have previously received a PPP loan.

The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) has launched Fair Share NYC, offering free webinars, technical assistance and access to lenders to help businesses interested in applying for PPP loans. For more information, visit nyc.gov/PPP or call 888-SBS-4NYC.

  • Fair Share NYC is a targeted campaign to connect small business owners to federal relief funds. Fair Share NYC resources are available in multiple languages and include:
    • Daily webinars to review the PPP and EIDL Advance programs and offer guidance on how to apply;
    • One-on-one assistance to find the best financing option for each business and get help filling out the application;
    • Connections to PPP lenders; and
    • Information about additional federal resources.

Anti-Loitering Bill Repealed

Andrew Cuomo signed a bill on February 2, 2021 that repealed a state anti-loitering law, referred to as the "walking while trans" ban. Advocates have long criticized the law as leading to police harassment and arrest of trans people, in particular Black and Latinx women.

Application Period for 3-K and Pre-K

Applications for 3-K and Pre-K spots for the 2021-22 school year will open on Wednesday, February 24. All families with children born in 2017 can apply for pre-K until April 7, and families with children born in 2018 can apply for 3-K until April 30. Families in every school district meeting the income requirements can apply for free or low-cost Pre-K and 3-K programs.

Families can apply online – in ten languages – at MySchools.nyc or over the phone – in 200 languages – at 718-935-2009. Families seeking an open 3-K or pre-K seat for this current school year can call 718-935-2009 or email ES_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov to learn about any available options in their community.

Brooklyn Public Library Remote Schooling

Caregivers and children can access Homeschool Resources for students K-12, including live tutoring in afternoons and evenings and personalized academic assistance via BPL volunteers on Zoom or Brainfuse HelpNow. Older students can practice for the SAT, AP, ACT or TASC (high school equivalency exam) or simply improve their reading or math skills with Learning Express Library.

Public Libraries - Updates and Resources

The New York, Queens, and Brooklyn Public Libraries are all offering a wide array of online programming, classes, and resources. All three systems have temporarily waived late fines and temporarily removed all fines-based blocks on patron accounts. You can learn more about each systems' offerings and COVID procedures here:

The NYC Disconnected Youth Task Force

Originally convened in 2019, the Disconnected Youth Task Force has published a new report focusing on out-of-school/out-of-work (OSOW) 16 to 24-year-olds. The report includes demographic information, an overview of current programs, and recommendations on short-term and long-term prevention and re-engagement. You can read the report and learn more about the task force online.

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 help@mocs.nyc.gov.

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.

Instructions to register:

  1. Go to the DSS Design and Print Ordering System.
  2. Once you are in the DSS Design and Print Ordering System, in the upper right-hand corner click on "log-in"
  3. Follow the instructions to register as a new user. When the registration is complete, you can begin ordering.

If you have any questions regarding the launch of the DSS Design and Print Ordering System, please contact Robert Stockwell, stockwellr@dss.nyc.gov. For questions about registering or other system issues, contact CIWSCustomerServices@dss.nyc.gov.

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. You can 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.

Grab-and-Go Meals

Grab-and-Go meal locations in schools remain open. All of the over 1,100 Department of Education schools that have been open for children learning in person or remotely will continue to distribute meals to students and families from 9AM - 12PM daily.

All of the over 260 Department of Education schools that have been community hubs distributing meals for the general public, including those serving kosher and expanded halal options, will continue to distribute meals from 3PM - 5PM daily.

For more information please visit www.schools.nyc.gov/freemeals and/or text "NYC FOOD" or "NYC COMIDA" to 877-877 to find a location.

Free Flu Shot Locations

Free flu shots are available throughout the City. For more information, please visit the City's flu page. The map of locations for accessing flu shots is available here.

Student Loan Forbearance

The relief afforded to federal student loan borrowers under the federal CARES Act has been extended through September 30 2021. Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in administrative forbearance, which allows borrowers to temporarily stop making monthly loan payments until September 30, 2021.

New Yorkers with privately-held loans who are impacted by COVID-19 should contact their student loan servicer to request relief

You can learn more about Federal and Private Student Loan Debt from the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP).

Debt that is forgiven between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2025 will not be considered taxable income. This includes debt that is forgiven under income-driven repayment plans, schools that defrauded borrowers, and any debt that is forgiven by the federal government during that time frame.

Driver Licenses and Non-Driver ID cards

Driver's License Renewals

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has made it easier to renew a driver's license online for anyone whose license expired (or is expiring) between March 2020 and February2021. Almost anyone during this time can renew online and submit their vision test up to one year later. It takes just a few simple steps to complete the process. You can find out how to renew a license online.

Expired Vehicle Inspections, Non-Driver IDs and Vehicle Registrations e xtensions e nded on November 3, 2020. Vehicle registrations including temporary auto dealer registrations and non-driver identification cards that expired on or after March 1, 2020 and vehicle inspections that expired on or after March 31, 2020 are no longer valid.

The Real ID federal enforcement deadline has been extended for one year until October 1, 2021.

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.

View the LGBTQI resources.

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.

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

Learn more about free mental health services accessible from home at Thrive NYC

Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Resources

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.

Access-A-Ride Updates

UPDATES:

The MTA resumed fare collection for Access-A-Ride on January 19.

Those who wish to apply for AAR may call the MTA Eligibility office at 877-337-2017 (TTY 718-393-4259 or TTY Relay 800-662-1220), prompt #1 and speak with an agent for assistance. Those customers whose service is scheduled to expire shortly should also call the MTA Eligibility office.

Shared rides are not permitted but passengers may still travel with a personal care attendant or a guest.

The MTA has re-opened three of the six Access-A-Ride assessment centers that have been closed since the start of the pandemic. The open MTA Paratransit Assessment Centers are:

  • New York Doctors Urgent Care – 65 West 13th Street, Manhattan
  • Horizon Healthcare – 101 Ellis Street., Staten Island
  • Excellence Physical Therapy - 1811 Hone Avenue, Bronx

For more information about how to apply or recertify, please visit: https://new.mta.info/accessibility/paratransit/how-to-apply-orrecertify-for-access-a-ride

Fair Fares for Access-A-Ride users

The Fair Fares discount will be available to eligible Access-A-Ride customers. As of July 2020, DSS/HRA made the Fair Fares discount available on Access-A-Ride paratransit trips with the cooperation of the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Customers can apply for Access-A-Ride discounts by linking an Access-A-Ride ID to the profile section of an ACCESS HRA account or by adding the Access-A-Ride ID during an application or renewal for the Fair Fares discount. There is a quick link on the ACCESS HRA website to direct FFNYC customers to the right place. People without an Access HRA account can check their eligibility on the nyc.gov/fairfares homepage, then apply at nyc.gov/accessfairfares. The customer verification process with the MTA is completed on a daily basis.

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 1-833-VAX-SCAM (1-833-829-7226) 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 dssoutreach@dss.nyc.gov for more information or to share your information with 311.

Free Online Classes

The NYS Department of Labor has partnered with Coursera to offer thousands of online courses for free. These courses are available online now .

Free Masks for Small Businesses

Free masks are being made available to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. See the map of distribution sites for free masks/PPE for employees of small businesses/organizations.

Immigrant Emergency Relief Fund Grants

The State Department of Health has confirmed that grants received under the Immigrant Emergency Relief Fund for undocumented workers in lieu of Federal Stimulus checks are considered exempt from consideration for Medicaid eligibility.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Fee Change

On January 29, 2021, USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register stating that in accordance to two preliminary injunctions issued in 2020, DHS will NOT be enforcing the proposed fee changes in the final rule entitled "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements." This means that USCIS will follow the guidance on fee waivers and accept the fees that were in place prior to October 2, 2020. The government filed an unopposed motion for voluntary dismissal of its appeal related to this issue (ILRC v. Wolf) on December 28, 2020, and as a result, the proposed rule has been enjoined. This is very positive news for those looking to file forms with USCIS, many of whom would have otherwise faced new, and in many cases very steep fees. You can learn more here: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-fees.

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:

  • An announcement that USCIS will be reverting back to the 2008 version of the USCIS citizenship civics test, allowing applicant who filed for naturalization between December 1, 2020-March 1, 2021 who are scheduled to interview before April 19, 2021 to take that test, or the new version issued on December 1, 2020. All othersr will be given the 2008 version of the test.
  • Introduction of the S. Citizenship Act of 2021 which includes:
    • A path to permanent residence and citizenship for qualifying undocumented foreign nationals and those holding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA);
    • Ways to clear extensive green card backlogs in the employment-based and family-based programs;
    • A streamlined process for graduates of U.S. universities with advanced STEM degrees to obtain permanent residence;
    • An increase in Diversity Lottery Visas, among other provisions; and
    • Immediate eligibility for undocumented people physically present in the United States on January 1, 2021, through the date of their application to apply for temporary immigrant status and eventually, after 5 years in temporary status and 3 years in permanent status, eligibility for naturalization, provided they meet several other conditions, including paying U.S. taxes.
  • An executive order promoting "integration, inclusion, and citizenship" as well as removing barriers and fear that prevent immigrants from utilizing government resources available to them.
  • An executive order addressing root causes of migration in Central America, bolstering asylum systems and resettlement capacities in Central and North American countries, and restoring the U.S. asylum system after the damage it sustained over the last four years.
  • An executive order creating the interagency task force on family reunification.
  • An executive order instructing that the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, should take all actions deemed appropriate to preserve and fortify DACA.
  • An executive order requiring the counting of all residents of the U.S., regardless of immigration status, in the census.
  • An executive order revising civil immigration enforcement and priorities. The order commits to upholding due process while safeguarding the dignity and well-being of all.
  • Reversal of the Trump administration's “zero tolerance” policy in a Department of Justice memo released and sent to federal prosecutors, instructing them to return to the previous policy of assessing each case on an individual basis.
  • Addition of Venezuela and Burma to the list of countries included in Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

In response to a DHS memo which called for halting deportations for many non-citizens for 100 days, a federal judge in Texas granted a request by Texas for a temporary restraining order stopping the deportation pause. On February 24, the judge issued a preliminary injunction halting the plan. Despite that development, reports indicate that in February 2021, ICE arrests are down 60% from the final three months of the Trump administration and deportations dropped at a similar rate (2,600 deportations in February compared to 5,583 in January). This reflects the new enforcement priorities which had been issued in the January 20 policy memo. On March 9, the attorneys general of Arizona and Montana filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration seeking to block the new priorities on the grounds their states will be harmed if more immigrants are released and not deported, focusing on those with criminal charges or convictions that fall outside the new guidelines.

Additionally, the processing and acceptance of Applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has resumed by federal court order. This includes initial requests from individuals who have never before been granted deferred action under DACA. The DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.