Temporary Assistance (TA)

OTDA Home Programs & Services Temporary Assistance Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What Proof Will I Need to Provide to My Worker?

When you are applying for, or getting, help for yourself or for someone else, you will be asked to provide proof of certain things, such as those listed below. Your worker will tell you which of these things you must provide. If you bring proof with you when you first come in to apply for assistance, you may be able to get help sooner.

If you drop documentation off at your local department of social services, you should ask for a receipt to prove what documentation you left. The receipt should have your name, the specific documentation that you dropped off, the time, date, county name and the name of the social services worker who provided the receipt.

If you cannot get the proof you need, ask your worker to help you. If the local department of social services already has proof of the things that do not change, such as your social security number, you do not need to provide them again.

What Proof May I Need to Provide to My Worker?
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 tax records, sewer and water bills, fuel bills, utility bills
Social Security Numbers Social Security Number which can be verified by the agency, 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 Non-Citizen Status Birth certificate, U. S. passport, military service records, naturalization certificate, 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
Absent 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 childcare provider, court order, statement from aide or attendant

The documents listed above are the most commonly used. This list is not complete because there are other documents you can use.

How much do recipients receive?

Temporary Assistance benefit amounts are established in State law and regulation. They vary based on several circumstances, including county of residence and household size. When members of the household have income including earned income from a job, this also affects the benefit level.

The benefits are composed of “allowances” and when added together they determine the “standard of need” for a given household size. These allowances include a basic needs allowance, home energy allowances, a shelter allowance, and other allowances.

Generally, the maximum benefit level is the standard of need in a county, which varies. For example, in Albany County, the maximum benefit level (or standard of need) is $367 per month for a single individual, or $698 per month for a household of three with children. The standard of need for each county is set by State regulation.

Is there a limit on how long I can get TANF-Funded Temporary Assistance?

There is a 60-month limit on the receipt of Family Assistance (FA) benefits funded under the federal TANF program, some Safety Net Assistance (SNA), Additionally, payments made under Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF) after December 1, 1996, are included in the 60-month limit.

Additionally, cash Temporary Assistance in New York State is limited to a cumulative period of 60 months for any adult. No cash assistance (FA or SNA) benefit is granted to a family that contains an adult who has received a combined total of 60-month benefits under FA or cash SNA.

What if recipients break the rules?

Failure to comply with program rules may result in the case closure or reduced benefits, as required by federal and State regulations. The actual amount by which benefits are reduced varies depending on the program rule in question.

Does getting a job reduce benefits?

Once a household is receiving benefits, State law permits a portion of earned income to be disregarded, ensuring that new earnings do not result in a reduction of benefits, up to a certain point. 50% (Earned Income Disregard (EID)) of the monthly earned income is not counted when determining the benefit level. After this EID is applied, a $150 work disregard is deducted from the remaining earned income, to determine the household's total countable earned income. The percentage of the EID used in the TA budgeting process is subject to change yearly.

How do I file a discrimination complaint?

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and local social service districts are prohibited from discriminating against applicants and recipients of public benefits on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, religion, political beliefs, gender identity, transgender status, gender dysphoria, sexual orientation, marital status, military status and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

If you think you have been discriminated against while applying for or receiving Temporary Assistance, or that your case has been handled improperly due to discrimination, you can file a complaint of discrimination, by writing to the:

Temporary Assistance Bureau
NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
40 North Pearl Street - 11C
Albany, NY 12243
(518) 474-9344

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