Assistance Programs in New York – Get Help with Rent, Health, Bills and More
New York unemployment benefits are capped by law and at just $430 a week, many people find it difficult to cover basic necessities, especially if it takes more than a couple weeks to find a new job.
Fortunately, there are public and private organizations and nonprofit agencies that can help if you are in a difficult financial spot. Whether you need help with your mortgage, utilities, food, health care or even childcare and other supplies, you will usually be able to find an organization near you to give you a helping hand.
Help with Healthcare and Medical Expenses in NY
In New York, you may be eligible free or low-cost health care through the state’s Medicaid program through the New York Department of Health. You may qualify for Medicaid if you have very high medical bills or you meet certain income requirements (see below).
|Family Size||Net Income for Individuals who are Blind, Disabled or Age 65+||Medicaid Income Level for Single People, Couples without Children||Resource Level (Individuals who are Blind, Disabled or Age 65+ ONLY)|
|For each additional person, add:||$2,175||$182||$5,769||$481|
*Effective January 1, 2017
Unless you are age 65 or older or have a disability, you will apply online for Medicaid through the New York State of Health marketplace. If you have problems with your application or need other information, you can call the state Medicaid helpline at (800) 541-2831.
Certain categories of individuals may qualify for Medicaid even if their income is higher than the above guidelines. If you are a pregnant woman or applying for children’s Medicaid only, the following income guidelines apply:
|Number in Family||154% FPL**||223% FPL**|
|For each additional person, add:||$537||$777|
* Income Levels are subject to yearly adjustments.
If you are a woman of childbearing age and you make too much money for Medicaid, you may still be eligible for the Family Planning Benefit program. The benefits include coverage for:
- Most FDA approved birth control methods, devices, and supplies (e.g., birth control pills, injectables, or patches, condoms, diaphragms, IUDs)
- Emergency contraception services and follow-up care
- Male and female sterilization
- Preconception counseling and preventive screening and family planning options before pregnancy
- Transportation to family planning visits
- Retroactive coverage (up to 3 months, if eligible)
- Pregnancy testing and counseling
- Comprehensive health history and physical examination, including breast exam and referrals to primary care providers as indicated (Mammograms are not covered).
- Screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s)
- Screening for cervical cancer and urinary tract or female-related infections
- Screening and related diagnostic laboratory testing for medical conditions that affect the choice of birth control, e.g. a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, blood clots, etc.
- HIV counseling and testing
- Counseling services related to pregnancy, informed consent, and STD/HIV risk counseling
- Bone density scan (only for women who plan to use or are currently using Depo-Provera)
- Ultrasound (to assess placement of an intrauterine device)
Children may also qualify for Child Health Plus, a premium-based plan that covers most medical care with no copayment. Income guidelines for Children’s Medicaid and Child Health Plus are below:
|Family Contributions||Monthly Income by Family Size||Each Additional
|$9 Per Child Per Month
(Maximum of $27 per family)
|$15 Per Child Per Month
(Maximum of $45 per family)
|$30 Per Child Per Month
(Maximum of $90 per family)
|$45 Per Child Per Month
(Maximum of $135 per family)
|$60 Per Child Per Month
(Maximum of $180 per family)
|Full Premium Per Child Per Month||Over
|Age Categories for Children||Monthly Income by Family Size||Each Additional
|Children under 1 Year; Pregnant Women||$2,242||$3,018||$3,795||$4,572||$5,349||$6,126||$6,902||$7,679||$774|
|Children 1 – 18 Years||$1,548||$2,085||$2,621||$3,157||$3,694||$4,230||$4,767||$5,303||$537|
There is also a Medicaid Excess Income plan for families who make too much for traditional Medicaid but have high medical bills. Under the plan, you are responsible for a certain monthly amount of your health care costs and everything above that amount is covered by Medicaid. The amount, which acts as a deductible, is set based on your income and family situation. You can apply for the plan at your local Department of Social Services.
Help with Prescription Drugs in New York
Anyone in New York may participate in the New York Prescription Assistance program, which provides discounts on prescription drugs at participating pharmacies. There is no cost to enroll and no eligibility guidelines. Apply online at the website above.
Free and Low-Cost Health and Dental Clinics
If you make too much money to qualify for the New York Medicaid program, you can still get health care, dental care, and prescription drugs for free or on a sliding-scale basis at one of the many nonprofit facilities and community health clinics throughout the state.
Most clinics serve individuals regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status. In some cases, you may have to bring documentation proving your identity, income, and residence in order to receive services. It’s a good idea to call before you show up to find out what’s required, even if the clinic accepts walk-in patients. You may be asked to pay a small co-pay or fee based on your income when you receive services.
Here are some places to get care in the largest counties and cities in New York.
ALLEGHANY COUNTY – ALBANY
The clinic provides sliding-scale fees for medical, dental, and vision care, plus pharmacy, mental health, and substance abuse treatment services. There are other community health programs available.
Albany Health Center
920 Lark Drive
Albany, NY 12207
Medical and Dental Hours
Monday 7:45a – 7:30p
Tuesday – Thursday
7:45a – 6:00p
Friday 7:45a – 5:00p
Thursday & Friday
7:45a – 4:30p
Wednesday 8:00a – 7:00p
Troy Health Center
6 102nd Street
Troy, NY 12180
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
7:45a – 6:00p
Wednesday 7:45a – 7:30p
Friday 7:45a – 5:00p
8:00a – 4:30p Monday to Friday
Watervliet Health Center
1804 Second Avenue
Watervliet, NY 12189
Monday – Friday
8:00a – 5:00p
Monday, Thursday, Friday
8:00a – 5:00p
ERIE COUNTY – BUFFALO
This is a federally qualified health center offering medical, dental, mental health, and family planning services to everyone regardless of income or ability to pay. They have payment plans and sliding fee scales.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER OF BUFFALO
34 Benwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
Phone: (716) 986-9199
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER OF CHEEKTOWAGA
934 Cleveland Drive
Cheektowaga , NY 14225
Phone: (716) 304-1056
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER OF LOCKPORT
38 Heritage Court
Lockport, NY 14094
Phone: (716) 478-6655
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER OF NIAGARA FALLS
2715 Highland Avenue
Niagara Falls, NY 14305
Phone: (716) 278-4418
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER OF SANBORN
6321 Inducon Drive
Sanborn, NY 14132
Phone: (716) 216-4806
MONROE COUNTY – ROCHESTER
Westside Health Services
This health clinic has two locations and offers sliding-scale fees based on income and family size. This is a family medicine clinic offering primary care to both children and adults.
Westside Health Woodward
480 Genesee Street
Rochester, NY 14611
Westside Health Brown Square
322 Lake Avenue
Rochester, NY 14608
NEW YORK CITY AND SURROUNDING AREA
This is a network of 30 practices in Manhattan, the Bronx, and the mid Hudson Valley region offering comprehensive health care service to adults and children regardless of ability to pay. They also accept Medicaid as well as most private insurance plans.
Family Health Center of Harlem
1824 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10035
1 (844) 434-2778 (For appointments only)
Fax: (212) 423-1417
Dental care: (212) 423-4400
Center for Counseling: (212) 423-4200
Sidney Hillman/Phillips Family Practice
16 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
Fax: (212) 206-5279
Amsterdam Health Center
690 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10025
Fax: (212) 864-5375
Institute for Family Health Center
64 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
Walton Family Health Center
1894 Walton Avenue
Bronx, NY 10453
Fax: (718) 583-3360
Center for Counseling (718) 583-2508
Dental care (718) 583-2700
Mt. Hope Family Practice
130 West Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10453
Fax: (718) 583-2835
Urban Horizons Family Health Center
50-98 East 168th Street
Bronx, NY 10452
Fax: (718) 293-3980
Institute for Family Health Frisby Avenue
2590 Frisby Avenue – 1st Floor
Bronx, NY 10461
Fax: (718) 792-7053
Stevenson Family Health Center
731 White Plains Road
Bronx, NY 10473
Fax: (718) 328-5082
Dental care: (718) 395-8350
Family Practice Center Hyde Park
11 Crum Elbow Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Fax: (845) 229-2005
Ellenville Family Health Center
6 Healthy Way
Ellenville, NY 12428
Fax: (845) 647-7632
Family Health Center Port Ewen
P.O. Box 628
Port Ewen, NY 12466
Fax: (845) 331-1184
Kingston Family Health Center
1 Family Practice Drive
Kingston, NY 12401
Fax: (845) 339-7288
Dental care (845) 338-6918
Pediatric Care Center (845) 339-9055
Behavioral Health (845) 338-2562 ; Fax: (845) 338-8909
New Paltz Health Center
279 Main Street, Suite 102
New Paltz, NY 12561
WESTCHESTER COUNTY – WHITE PLAINS
Affordable medical and dental care including pharmacy, women’s health, and vision care. Fees are based on ability to pay.
Open Door Ossining
165 Main Street
Tel (914) 941-1263
Open Door Port Chester
5 Grace Church Street
Port Chester, NY 10573
Tel (914) 937-8899
Open Door Sleepy Hollow
80 Beekman Avenue
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Tel (914) 631-4141
Open Door Mount Kisco
30 West Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY 10549
Tel (914) 666-3272
Open Door Brewster
155 Main Street, Suite 101
Brewster, NY 10509
Tel (845) 279-6999
Cash Assistance in NY
New York families and individuals with low incomes or who are in a financial crisis due to unemployment or other event may qualify for Temporary Assistance in New York. There are two types of temporary cash assistance programs:
- Family Assistance (FA) is funded by the federal TANF program and is available to families with dependent children in the home. Benefits are available for up to 60 months.
- Safety Net Assistance (SNA) is for individuals and couples who are not eligible for TANF benefits or who have exceeded the 60-month limit for Family Assistance.
You must be looking for work or engaged in work-related activities to be eligible for Temporary Assistance of any type.
New York also offers an Emergency Assistance (EA) program which provides one-time cash assistance for housing, utilities, fuel, and temporary shelter. Examples of qualifying emergencies:
- 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 in the cold weather period
- 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 physically harmed , or threatened with violence by a partner, ex-partner or other household member.
To apply for all types of temporary assistance, you must visit your local Department of Social Services. You can also call the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance at the OTDA Hotline at 1-800-342-3009.
You will be asked to provide a good amount of documentation to support your application for assistance:
|What You May Be Asked To Prove||Examples of How to Prove It|
|Who You Are||Photo ID, driver’s license, U.S. passport|
|Age of Each Applying Household Member||Birth or baptismal certificate, hospital records, driver’s license|
|Where You Live||Current rent receipt, mortgage records, statement from landlord|
|Household Composition/Size||Statement from non-relative landlord , school records|
|Shelter Expenses||Current rent receipt, current lease, mortgage records, property and school bills, telephone bills, tax records, sewer and water bills, fuel bills, utility bills|
|Social Security Numbers||Social Security Card, official correspondence from SSA|
|Absent Parent Information||Pay stubs, tax returns, Social security or VA records, monetary determination letters|
|Citizen or Current Alien Status||Birth certificate, U. S. passport, military service records, naturalization certificate, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services documentation|
|Whether you are Drug/Alcohol Dependent||Alcohol/drug screening and assessment which may include a drug test|
|Earned Income||Current pay stubs, statement from employer, tax records, business records, statement from roomer or boarder of amount paid for lodging|
|Child Support or Alimony||Statement from Court, statement from person paying support|
|Social Security Benefits||Current benefit check or current award letter|
|Veteran’s Benefits||Current benefit check, current award letter, official correspondence from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs|
|Unemployment Insurance Benefits||Official correspondence from New York State Department of Labor|
|Interest and Dividends||Statement from bank, credit union or broker|
|Educational Grants and Loans||Statement from school or bank, current award letter|
|Worker’s Compensation||Current award letter or check stub|
|Bank Accounts||Bank records or credit union records|
|Checking Accounts||Bank statements|
|Burial Trust or Fund||Bank statement or copy of burial agreement|
|Burial Plot or Agreement||Statement from cemetery or funeral director, copy of burial plot deed|
|Life Insurance||Insurance policy|
|Real Estate Other Than Where You Live||Deed, appraisal/estimate of current value by real estate broker|
|Motor Vehicle||Registration, title of ownership, financing information|
|Stocks and Bonds||Stock certificates, bonds|
|School Attendance of Those Attending School||School records, statement from school|
|Health Insurance||Insurance policy, insurance card, statement from provider of coverage, Medicare card|
|Unpaid Rent or Utilities||Copy of each bill, statement from landlord or utility company|
|Paid or Unpaid Medical Bills||Copy of each bill and proof of payment if a paid bill|
|Noncustodial Parent||Death certificate, survivor’s benefits, divorce papers, veteran’s assistance or military records|
|Disabled/Incapacitated/Pregnant||Statement from medical professional, proof of Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits|
|Other Expenses/Dependent Care Expenses||Cancelled checks or receipts, statement from child care provider, court order, statement from aide or attendant|
Rent and Mortgage Assistance in NY
It can be difficult to pay your housing costs when you are unemployed in New York. The following resources are available to help you avoid foreclosure or eviction while you are looking for work.
The attorney general of the state of New York launched a program in 2014 to help homeowners in the state at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. The New York State Mortgage Assistance Program (NYSMAP) offers 0% interest loans of up to $40,000 to prevent foreclosures and protect property values.
Since its launch in 2014, the program has helped over 650 families with an average loan in excess of $27,000.
To see if you qualify, visit the NYSMAP home page and complete a simple form. A loan counselor will contact you and explain the process. If you are eligible, he or she will help you complete the application for assistance.
ASSISTANCE WITH RENT/EVICTION
If you live in New York City and you have received a notice of eviction, you may be able to apply for the One Shot Deal, a one-time grant to help families who are in crisis due to an unexpected event like the loss of a job.
To apply, visit your local Job Center or call the Infoline at Infoline at (718) 557-1399 for more information.
Below is a list of organizations by city and county that may be able to help you with your rent or mortgage payments if you get behind.
ALBANY COUNTY – ALBANY
255 Orange Street
Albany, New York 12210
Phone: (518) 436-8997
UTA provides housing assistance and referrals to low income individuals who are at risk of eviction and foreclosure. They assist about 5,000 people a year and answer over 6,000 hotline calls.
ERIE COUNTY – BUFFALO
The county has funding to provide emergency assistance for rent and utilities to those who qualify.
Erie County Work Center
158 Pearl Street 2nd floor
Buffalo, NY 14202
Hours of Operation: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
MONROE COUNTY – ROCHESTER
This organization provides emergency assistance for food, clothing, utilities, rent, and mortgage payments to low-income families and families in crisis.
152 Baden Street
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
NEW YORK CITY
Coalition for the Homeless offers a Family Eviction Prevention Supplement program that can help with rent in arrears up to $7,000.
In order to be eligible for FEPS, families must meet the following criteria:
- Have at least one child who is 18 or under living in the household (or under 19 and a full-time student)
- Have an open Public Assistance case that is NOT in sanction status (FEPS is cut off any time there is a member of the household in sanction status and will not resume until the sanction is lifted)
- Have rent that exceeds the PA shelter allowance but that is within the maximum FEPS rent levels which can be found below.
- Have a court proceeding that involves nonpayment of rent, at least part of which, is “excess rent”*
- Be the tenant of record and have a lease for the housing or obtain a written agreement to stay for at least a year if the tenancy is nonregulated private housing
- Agree to have the entire rent paid directly to landlord
Coalition for the Homeless
129 Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038
Email: [email protected]
Crisis Intervention walk-in hours begin at 9 am Monday – Friday.
A limited number of people are seen on a first come, first serve basis,
so it is advised to arrive no later than 8 a.m.
ONONDAGA COUNTY – SYRACUSE
Catholic Charities provides emergency assistance for food, clothing and housing.
1654 West Onondaga Street
Syracuse, NY 13204
For emergency assistance, call Mary Jane Wood at 315-475-3807. Please be prepared to leave a message. Someone will call you back as soon as possible.
TOMPKINS COUNTY – ITHACA
This organization receives federal funding under the Rapid Rehousing grant and may be able to assist families in crisis with rent assistance.
701 Spencer Road, Ithaca NY 14850
Email [email protected]
309 Corn Street, Ithaca NY 14850
Help with Childcare and Education Expenses in NY
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) offers a child care subsidy program for low-income families who meet certain requirements. If you receive temporary assistance from the state, you are automatically eligible for child care assistance if you are engaged in return-to-work activities.
If you are not currently receiving any benefits but meet income guidelines, you may also be eligible for childcare assistance. To apply, contact your county Department of Social Services. You can also call the OCFS at (518) 473-7793 for more information.
Help Paying Your Utility Bills in NY
Low income families can apply for Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funds, which are paid in a lump sum once each year to your home energy provider. The 2017 income guidelines are below:
|Household Size||Maximum Gross Monthly Income|
|Each additional||Add $520|
The HEAP program also offers one-time emergency assistance for utility bills, which may be available even if you don’t qualify for HEAP.
In addition for help with heating bills, you may also apply for cooling assistance during the summer months.
The state’s eight investor-owned energy companies also offer reduced rates to low income families who qualify.
Powerful Opportunity Program (POP): POP is a discounted Budget Bill that gives you $25 to $150 off your regular Budget Bill usage, household size and income. POP has an arrears forgiveness benefit that allows your past due balance to be suspended from collection activity and paid off up to $2,400 over a 24-month period when you pay your discounted Budget Bill each month. To be eligible for POP, need a past due balance of at least $100, must enroll in monthly Budget Billing and meet HEAP income guidelines. For further information or an application, please call Central Hudson at 845-452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714.
Energy Assistance Program (EAP): There are two levels of assistance available: EAP Basic Benefit, which offers a monthly bill credit, and EAP Limited Benefit, which offers arrears forgiveness. Assistance is available to electric and gas customers who have received a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grant. Matching Incentive Payment Program: Grants of up to $600 are offered to residential customers facing disconnection for nonpayment. To be eligible, you must be an NYSEG customer with income less than 8 percent above the guidelines for HEAP. Apply through your local Red Cross office.
Help with Groceries and Food in NY
New York SNAP (Food Stamps)
If you meet income requirements, you may qualify for New York SNAP benefits.
Income Guidelines for Households without Earned Income (no elderly or disabled member)
|Family Size||Monthly Gross Income*||Annual Gross Income*|
|Each additional person||$451||$5,412|
*Chart information is based upon SNAP Standards effective October 1, 2016.
Income Guidelines for Households with Earned Income (no elderly or disabled member)
|Family Size||Monthly Gross Income*||Annual Gross Income*|
|Each additional person||$520||$6,240|
*Chart information is based upon SNAP Standards effective October 1, 2016.
If you qualify, you may receive assistance up to the maximum limits below.
Maximum SNAP Benefit Allowances
|Family Size||Maximum Allotment|
|For each additional member||$ 146+|
Applications are accepted online. You must create an account with MyBenefits and complete the application. See the website for a list of documents to gather before you begin the application process. If you have any questions, you can contact the Helpline at 1-800-342-3009 Monday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm.
New York WIC
The Women Infants and Children program (WIC) is available to families with children age five and younger, and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
The program provides funds for the purchase of specific foods and infant formula, including fruits, vegetables, cheese, cereal, meat and other proteins, plus infant foods.
Applications are accepted in person only at your local WIC program office. You’ll need to bring the following documents to your appointment:
- Proof of identity for each person applying.
- Proof of where you live. The proof must show your actual street address, not a post office box.
- Proof of income for each household member who works. Documentation must be for the last 30 days.
- Proof of your participation in Medicaid, SNAP/Food Stamps or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
- Immunization records for children.
- Confirmation of pregnancy – a statement from your health care provider with your baby’s due date.
- Any WIC Medical forms given to you by your health care provider.
If you have any questions or need more information before you apply, call the WIC program office at 1-800-522-5006.
Food Pantries and Food Banks in New York
Listed below are the major regional food banks in New York state. Contact the one closest to you and they will be able to refer you to local food pantries in your area where you can get help with groceries for you and your family. You can also visit this page to see which regional food bank is closest to you and find contact information.
You may also check the list of additional resources by county at the bottom of this page; many of them have food pantries or will be able to provide you with referrals to an organization near you to get help with groceries.
Food Bank of Western New York
91 Holt St.
Buffalo, NY 14206
Telephone: (716) 852-1305
Fax: (716) 852-7858
1999 Mt. Read Boulevard
Rochester, NY 14615
Telephone: (585) 328-3380
Fax: (585) 328-9951
Catholic Charities Food Bank of the Southern Tier
388 Upper Oakwood Avenue
P.O. Box 2127
Telephone: (607) 796-6061
Fax: (607) 796-6028
Food Bank of Central New York
7066 Interstate Island Road
Syracuse, New York 13209
Telephone: (315) 437-1899
Fax: (315) 434-9629
- St. Lawrence
Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY
965 Albany-Shaker Rd.
Latham, NY 12110
Telephone: (518) 786-3691
Fax: (518) 786-3004
Questions or comments: [email protected]lth.state.ny.us
The Food Bank for Westchester, Inc.
200 Clearbrook Rd.
Elmsford, NY 10523
Telephone: (914) 923-1100
Fax: (914) 923-1198
Long Island Cares, Inc.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank
10 Davids Drive
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Telephone: (631) 582-3663
Fax: (631) 273-1375
Food Bank for New York City
Food Bank for New York City
39 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10006
Telephone: (212) 566-7855
Fax: (212) 566-1463
- Kings (Brooklyn)
- New York (Manhattan)
- Richmond (Staten Island)
Additional Aid and Resources by City and County in NY
If you are unable to find the help you need with the organizations and resources above, try one of these nonprofit organizations in your area. In many cases, they have crisis and emergency relief funds for help with utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, food, clothing, baby needs, health care services, and referrals to other agencies that may be able to assist you.
Providing assistance in the following counties:
Visit the website to find your local office or call the main office at:
40 North Main Avenue,
Albany, NY 12203
PH: (518) 453.6650
ERIE COUNTY – BUFFALO REGION
Catholic Charities helps with food, utilities, and emergency assistance for basic needs, including children’s health care.
You can view a list of locations in the Buffalo region and all of western New York where they operate to find the office closest to you.
The main office is located at:
741 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14209
MONROE COUNTY – ROCHESTER AREA
The Salvation Army assists with housing and other emergency assistance including food and crisis aid.
The Salvation Army of Greater Rochester
P.O. Box 41210
70 Liberty Pole Way
Rochester, New York 14604
Phone (585) 987-9500
NEW YORK CITY AREA
The Salvation Army has multiple locations in the New York City area offering different family, youth, and adult services. Check the website for an office near you or contact the main office at:
The Salvation Army — Greater New York Division
120 W. 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 337-7200
ONONDEGA COUNTY – SYRACUSE
The Salvation Army may have funding for assistance with basic needs, plus food and other essential services. Contact the services you need using the phone numbers below:
Emergency & Basic Needs
|Homeless Prevention Services||479-1157|
|Homeless Resource Services||479-1349|
|Housing Assistance & Life Skills Education (H.A.L.E.)||479-1307|
|Child & Family Health Plus||479-1136|