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 or a woman whose pregnancy is medically verified. It is operated under federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines. All employable adults must be working or involved in work-like activities.

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 or her FA household are ineligible to receive any more FA benefits. The months need not be consecutive, but rather each individual month in which TANF-funded benefits are received is included in the lifetime count.

Parents and other adult relatives who can work must be working or involved in work-like activities. Parents are also responsible for cooperating with the local department of social services in locating an absent parent. Non-cooperation without good cause could result in the reduction or termination of FA Benefits.

Eligibility process

  • An application for Family Assistance may be made in person at one of the local social services district offices located in the applicant’s geographical catchment area.
  • The applicant is given an appointment date for an interview and is asked to provide documentation to verify the information contained in the Temporary Assistance application.
  • A decision on the application must be made within 30 days unless the applicant presents an emergency need such as no place to live or no food. When an emergency is declared, the applicant is interviewed in the office that day and the emergency is evaluated and addressed.
  • The applicant receives a letter advising him/her whether or not his/her application has been accepted or denied and is advised of his/her benefits entitlements.
  • The applicant, if eligible, must report any changes in his situation to the department in a timely manner, must participate in any mandated programs and must have his/her eligibility for Family Assistance recertified periodically.

Temporary Shelter Supplement (TSS)
Temporary Shelter Supplement may be provided to recipients of Family Assistance, or families receiving Safety Net Assistance, subject to all its regulations. Please request this additional benefit at the District Office serving your community if you are at risk of eviction due to non-payment of rent.

Non Parent Caregiver Brochure cover thumbnail

Know Your Resources: Nonparent Caregiver Benefits
Nonparent caregivers, commonly called kinship caregivers, are adults who are caring for children living in their home without their parent. If you are a nonparent caregiver, you may be eligible for financial assistance and other supports. Find out more in this brochure from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.