Apply For New York TANF Benefits

Learn how to apply for New York TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, called New York Temporary Assistance (TA), may help you become self-supportive while receiving monthly cash benefits to meet your everyday needs such as rent, utilities, clothes, transportation, or additional expenses.

Sometimes you may not be eligible to receive TANF for yourself, but a child or children in your household may. The TANF program is administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. In most cases, in order to qualify for TANF you must meet both types of eligibility, categorical and financial.

Additionally, to qualify for TANF there are work requirements. The NY TANF program requires most adults be employed or participate in certain work-related activities, which you will be assigned for a certain number of hours on a weekly basis in order to continue receiving TANF benefits.

The total number of hours needed to fulfill your work activity requirement depends on your family composition. Qualified state residents are required to produce information including household income, age, citizenship and resources.

Only household members who are eligible for New York TANF can receive welfare benefits. For more information about applying for NY TANF benefits, view the information below. If you still have questions or issues, then contact TANF New York.

Temporary Assistance (TA) is 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, TA may be able to help you pay for your expenses.

New York TANF time limit

There is a 60-month limit on the receipt of New York Family Assistance (FA) benefits funded under the federal TANF program. Additionally, cash Temporary Assistance in New York State is limited to a cumulative period of 60 months for any adult. No cash assistance benefit is granted to a family that contains an adult who has received a combined total of 60-month benefits under FA.

Apply for New York TANF

To start the application process for New York TANF benefits, including help with an emergency, you need to file an application with your county Department of Social Services (DSS) or, if you live in one of the five boroughs of New York City, with your local Job Center. To find a location, view a list of DSS offices near you.

To download a copy of a TANF application, click here. You must fill out the application form and file it at your local department of Social Services. You should identify any emergency needs you may have at this time. If you have an emergency, you will be interviewed and told in writing about the decision on your emergency the same day you apply.

Your interview should be within seven working days of your filing an application. You should be told within 30 days of the date you filed your application if your application for Family Assistance is approved or denied.

Proof needed when applying for TANF benefits

When you are applying for help for yourself or for someone else, you will be asked to provide proof of certain things. 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 TANF, 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. Below is a list of some items you may be asked to show proof of:

Proof 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 Alien Status Birth certificate, US passport, military service records, naturalization certificate, US 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 Benefit Current benefit check, current award letter, official correspondence from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Unemployment Insurance Benefit Official correspondence from New York State Department of Labor
Interest and Dividend 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 Account Bank statements
Burial Trust or Fun Bank statement or copy of burial agreement
Burial Plot or Agreemen 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
Moto 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 child care provider, court order, statement from aide or attendant

Please note, the documents listed above are the most commonly used. This list is not complete because there are other documents you can use. For most sources of income, Temporary Assistance workers must calculate your ongoing benefits using "gross" levels of earned income and unearned income, rather than what you may actually take home after mandatory or voluntary deductions or adjustments.

Sometimes your worker will ask you to explore the use of community resources, which may include your parents, other family members, friends, religious organizations, social organizations where you live, etc., that may meet your need or needs in lieu of, or in addition to, Temporary Assistance.

If it is determined that these resources are available to you, you must explore and make use of all them to help meet your needs, including emergency needs, as a condition of eligibility for Temporary Assistance, or provide your worker with good cause for not doing so.

I was denied TANF benefits. What can I do?

State and local agencies are responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and procedures that apply in their programs, not the Federal government. If you disagree with a decision regarding welfare benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more information about your state's appeals procedures, contact the NY TANF office.