Temporary Assistance (TA) offers temporary help for needy men,
women and children. If you are unable to work, can't find a job,
or your job does not pay enough to meet your basic living needs,
TA may be able to help you with your basic need expenses, such
as heat, rent etc.
John H. Mulroy Civic Center, 2nd Floor
421 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Hours: 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM (Monday-Friday) Phone: (315) 435-2700
Temporary Assistance is the term used in New York State for public
assistance (welfare) programs. Temporary Assistance provides families
and individuals with short-term help while they work toward self-sufficiency
In New York State there are three financial assistance programs:
This program provides money for families with children. Cash benefits
are limited to five years in a recipient’s lifetime. After
five years a Family Assistance case may continue to receive benefits
if an adult is disabled and cannot work or may be required to
apply for assistance through the Safety Net category.
Safety Net Assistance (SNA)
This program provides money for basic living expenses for single
adults and childless couples or families who have used up their
5-year limit of FA. Cash benefits are limited to two years including
any cash benefits received through Family Assistance. After two
years, the non-cash Safety Net Assistance voucher system provides
Emergency Temporary Assistance
An emergency is an urgent need or situation that has to be taken
care of right away. Emergency Assistance for Families (EAF) and
Emergency Safety Net Assistance (ESNA) provide assistance for
crisis situations. Services such as prevention of evictions,
moving expenses, utility shutoffs, help with food expenses and
diversion payments to help individuals avoid the need for ongoing
assistance are available.
Some examples of an emergency are:
You are homeless.
You have little or no food.
Your landlord has told you that you must move or has given you
eviction papers You do not have fuel for heating during cold weather.*
Your utilities are shut-off or are about to be shut-off, or you
have a 72-hour disconnect notice*
You or someone in your family has been beaten, abused or threatened
with violence by a husband, wife, partner or other member of the
*Note: for individuals not on Temporary Assistance the HEAP Unit
on the 7th floor of the County Office Building handles fuel and
Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for a Temporary Assistance benefit, individuals
and families will be subject to income and resource tests. Benefit
levels vary depending on household size, available income and
expenses. Please keep in mind that you may NOT be eligible for benefits if you do not meet guidelines set by New York State.
Generally the amount of real and personal property, including cash, savings accounts and checking accounts which a household can own and still qualify for Temporary
Assistance is $2000. However, a household in which any member
is age 60 or over can own up to $3000 in resources. Resources
that are exempt include: a home which is the usual residence
of the household, basic maintenance items essential to day-to-day
living, one burial plot per household member, and one funeral
agreement per household member up to an equity value of $1,500
per household member. There are special rules for automobiles
though generally most of their value is exempt.
How to apply
You can apply for any of the Temporary Assistance programs in Temporary
Assistance Intake located on the 2nd floor of the Civic Center,
421 Montgomery Street. Note: The one exception is the HEAP Unit
on the 7th floor of the County Office Building handles fuel and
When applying for Temporary Assistance someone in the “Intake” Unit
will see you. Eligibility decisions depend on how quickly you complete
your application requirements and which program you are applying
for. Decisions can take from immediately for some emergencies to
45 days for Safety Net Assistance.
What to Expect
After you fill out your application and turn it in, you will usually
be seen first in a group setting. You will talk to an eligibility
worker individually after the group. You may be given a follow-up
appointment with a worker from our office. At this time, a number
of questions may be asked of you, depending on your particular
circumstances. Some general things you might expect are:
If you are a single parent, you may be required to have an interview
with the Support Collection Unit. If, however, you or your child
has been threatened or abused, or you fear for the life of you
or your child, you do not have to cooperate with the Support Collection
Unit. However, you must be able to prove your claim.
If you tell the worker that you have an alcohol or substance abuse
problem, or the worker suspects that you might, you may be asked
to see a substance abuse counselor. He/she will be able to help
you get the treatment you need.
You will have the opportunity to complete a Domestic Violence Screening
form, if you want to. You will also be provided with important
information about obtaining Domestic Violence Services. If you
tell your caseworker that you are a victim of domestic violence,
he/she will give you the opportunity to talk with a domestic violence
You will be asked to have your picture and fingerprints taken.
This is required by New York State law to avoid duplicate benefit
It is also important to know that when you apply for Temporary
Assistance, your application will also be considered for Medical
Assistance and Food Stamp benefits as well if you are interested.
You will find out if you are eligible for these programs, along
with Temporary Assistance, within 30 days of the day your turn
in your application.
If you are determined eligible, your Temporary Assistance case will then be sent to the “Undercare” Unit. Benefits may be issued as cash or in voucher form to your landlord
or utility provider.Your cash benefits will be available at ATM
machines in grocery stores. In order to access cash benefits,
you will need a benefit card and a PIN number. Benefits over $25.00
are issued semi-monthly. Voucher payments are sent directly to
your landlord or your provider. Click here to link to EBT Page
For families with children, federal and state laws have changed.
Assistance is now temporary and time-limited. Cash assistance
will only be available for up to 60 months in a lifetime. Any
month or part of a month, since December 1996, in which cash
benefits were received, counts toward your time limit.
If you are on assistance and are employed and your cash grant is
minimal, you may want to request that your case be closed and save
a full month of assistance to be used at a later date when need
may be greater. If you need a child care subsidy this can be guaranteed
in this situation.