Maiffn Area

Know Your Rights: A Guide to Help Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming NYers Navigate the NYS Human Rights Law

Posted on June 1st, 2022

Transgender and gender-nonconforming people have historically experienced discrimination, harassment and violence at far higher rates than other people because of their gender identities and gender expression.  After decades of advocacy, the legal landscape is finally starting to recognize transgender and gender-nonconforming people as a class that deserves protection under the law.

The Know Your Rights guide explains how the New York State Human Rights Law (HRL), specifically, protects transgender and gender-nonconforming people.  It describes what unlawful discrimination looks like, and what you can do if it happens to you.  This guide also contains some information about your legal rights under other state and federal laws, and gives you contact information for legal advocates and attorneys across New York State that may be able to advise you about your rights.

Know Your Rights Guide

View the one-page flyer

Public Benefits and Non-Parent Caregivers: A Review of Financial Support

Posted on April 9th, 2021

Public Benefits and Non-Parent Caregivers: A Review of Financial Support is a resource for non-parent caregivers and their advocates to find information on child care subsidies, temporary assistance, Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Supplemental Security Incomes (SSI), special rent subsidies, Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and many other programs that non-parent caregivers can access to get the financial support they need to make sure the children they care for are safe, fed, housed, healthy, and happy.

Read the full resource here: Public Benefits and Non-Parent Caregivers: A Review of Financial Support

Pro Se Name & Gender Change Guide for Transgender Residents of the Capital Region, New York

Posted on December 2nd, 2019

Empire Justice Center has created a pro se guide to walk transgender residents of the Capital Region in New York through the legal and administrative steps to change your name and gender marker on identity documents.

Public Charge Screening Tool

Posted on October 4th, 2019

What is “public charge”? Public charge is a technical legal term used in immigration law. It is part of a screening process used by U.S. immigration officials with non‐citizens who are applying for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, commonly also called getting a green card. If someone is considered to be a public charge or likely to become a public charge, they won’t be able to get a green card.

A new Rule on public charge was issued on August 14, 2019, and the Rule will take effect on October 15, 2019. The Rule will cause many more people to be denied green cards based on public charge, but the Rule does not apply to everyone. It is important for people to find out if the Rule applies to them, especially if they fear applying for or continuing to receive government benefits because certain benefits are treated negatively under the Rule. The new Rule will apply only to certain non‐citizens who apply for a green card on or after October 15, 2019 and will be having their interview within the U.S.* As explained in the FAQs below, the public charge rules have already changed for people seeking a visa to enter the U.S. after an interview at the U.S. Consulate in their home country.

Does public charge affect all non‐citizens? No. USCIS does not screen all noncitizens who are applying for, or want to apply for, permanent resident status, to see whether they are or may become public charges. Noncitizens in certain exempt immigration classifications (discussed on page 2, below) are not subject to a public charge screening, nor will they be after the Rule becomes effective.

Do all public benefits count for public charge? For applications for permanent resident status submitted before October 15, 2019, not all public benefits put a non‐citizen at risk of being classified as a public charge. Until the Rule goes into effect, only two types of benefits: (1) cash benefits (cash welfare, SSI); and (2) government‐funded long‐term‐institutional care (nursing home type care) are treated as an indication that the person may be a public charge and so should not be allowed to become a permanent resident.

Under the new Rule, the following additional benefits will count: SNAP, federal Medicaid (with certain exceptions), Section 8/public housing. No other benefits count under the new Rule.

Overview: To assist you in answering client questions about how receiving government benefits may affect their immigration status, this packet contains the following tools:
A screening tool that staff members from community, social services, and advocacy organizations can use to help answer clients’ questions about whether receiving government benefits will affect their immigration status.
A list of frequently asked questions and answers that will help you respond to client questions relating to the receipt of government benefits and expected changes to the rules.
Lawyer referral information. Some issues require a lawyer’s expertise. If the person you are screening does not already have a lawyer and your organization does not have legal staff or partners available to answer client questions, this packet contains information about how to reach a lawyer, and in what circumstances a lawyer’s help may be especially important.

Instructions: Start by taking the client through the multi‐step screening tool:
When the person you are screening reaches a green light like this you are done screening them, and they are not at risk under current rules.* But review answers to frequently asked questions.
When you see an yellow light like this go to the next step.
When you see a red light like this refer the client to a lawyer.
When you see *ASK*, it means you may need to ask a lawyer for help during the screening.

What if the person does not want screening but is concerned about how receiving benefits may affect their
status? Persons concerned about public charge should go through the screening first to understand their level of
risk before seeking a legal consultation.

Public Charge Screening Tool

Web Based Foreclosure Guide

Posted on August 14th, 2019

View our foreclosure guide here.

Seeking Protection from Domestic Violence in New York’s Family Court

Posted on September 30th, 2017

Information for Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence with Limited English Proficiency.

All too often, victims of domestic violence find the court system overwhelming and confusing as they attempt to seek help and some degree of protection from an abuser.  This is an even bigger issue for immigrants, who may not speak English very well or at all. In addition to the very real fear of retribution from the abuser, concerns about possible deportation or other immigration issues may prevent these victims from seeking help from law enforcement or the courts, trapping them in a vicious cycle of abuse due to mistrust or anxiety.

In an effort to help alleviate barriers for domestic violence victims with limited English proficiency, Empire Justice Center has developed a resource that provides answers to frequently asked questions about how to obtain an order of protection and to fully access Family Court.

The brochure is now available in the top seven languages in which interpreters are sought in the NYS Courts, as well as in English:




Haitian Creole



Simplified Chinese


Buying a Used Car

Posted on December 23rd, 2016

Here are several resources to check out when considering buying a used car:

REPORT: Assistance with Summer Camp Fees: A Guide for Relative Caregivers

Posted on August 9th, 2016

Top Ten Ways The CFPB Can Help You With Financial Questions

Posted on May 2nd, 2014

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund has put together this great resource of how the CFPB can help you. It includes information on how to make complaints to the CFPB.


Read full article

Health Coverage Crosswalk: Eligibility by Immigration Status

Posted on March 9th, 2013