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Temporary Assistance

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. If you qualify for assistance, you will be notified 30 days from your application date.

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:

Family Assistance (FA)
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 benefits.

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 household.

*Note: for individuals not on Temporary Assistance the HEAP Unit on the 7th floor of the County Office Building handles fuel and utility emergencies.

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.If you do qualify you will be notified 30 days from the your application date.

Resource Limit
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 utility emergencies.

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 counselor.

You will be asked to have your picture and fingerprints taken. This is required by New York State law to avoid duplicate benefit payments.

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.

Non-relative Care Givers Information

Temporary Assistance Forms Available Online

Renting to a TA Client
        Overview Document
        Shelter Verification / Landlord Statement - Attachment #1
        IRS Form W-9 - Attachment #2
        Notice of Shelter Payment Status to Landlords - Attachment #3
        Landlord Tenant Security Agreement - Attachment #4
Pre-Inspection Report - Attachment #5
Post-Inspection Report - Attachment #6
Social Services Law 143-b - Attachment #7
        An Order For Supplies / Services (Voucher) - Attachment #8

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