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Temporary Assistance


Temporary Assistance is temporary help for needy adults and children. If an applicant is unable to work, can't find a job or his/her job does not pay enough, Temporary Assistance may be able to pay for some household expenses.

There are two major Temporary Assistance Programs:

  • 1. Family Assistance (FA) provides cash assistance to eligible needy families that include a minor child living with a parent (including families where both parents are in the household) or a caretaker relative. It is operated under federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines. Under FA, eligible adults are limited to receiving benefits for a total of 60 months in their lifetime, including months of TANF-funded assistance granted in other states. Once this limit is reached, that adult and all members of his/her FA household are ineligible to receive any more FA benefits.
  • 2. Safety Net Assistance (SNA) is available for individuals who are not eligible for other assistance programs.

Safety Net Assistance is for:

  • Single Adults
  • Childless Couples
  • Children living apart from any adult relative
  • Families of person refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment of treatment
  • Person who have exceeded the 60-month limit on assistance
  • Aliens who are eligible for public assistance, but who are not eligible for federal reimbursement

Generally, individuals can receive Safety Net Assistance in cash for a maximum of two years in a lifetime. After that, if you are eligible of Safety Net Assistance, it will be provided in no-cash form, such as a two-party check or a voucher. In addition, non-cash SNA is provided for:

  • Families of persons abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Families of persons refusing drug/alcohol screening assessment or treatment

Eligibility Criteria:

Herkimer County residents who meet income and resource guidelines in accordance with Regulation Code Book 18 NY CRR and Social Services law.

Client Fees: None


Q. What kind of expenses will Temporary Assistance help pay?
A. Food & Clothing costs, Rent or Mortgage costs, Heat, Gas/Electricity, Water and other Utilities, Other special needs such as: housing & household-related items, catastrophic loss and pregnancy.

Q. How are emergencies handled?
A. If the department is told that someone has an emergency, an interview will be conducted that day and a decision will be given in writing to the applicant that same day.

An emergency is defined as an urgent need or a situation that has to be taken care of right away. Some examples of emergencies are:

  • Homeless
  • Little or no food
  • The landlord has told the applicant he/she must move or has given eviction papers
  • No fuel for heating in the cold weather period
  • Utilities are shut-off or a 72 hours disconnect notice has been given
  • The applicant or a family member has been beaten, abused or threatened with violence by a husband, wife, partner or other member of the household
  • Little or no income, few or no resources
  • Income and resources are less than the total of rent or mortgage plus heat, utilities and phone
  • Migrant or seasonal farm worker

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