Does Temporary Assistance Meet Households’ Level of Need?
- To calculate a basic public assistance budget, Click here.
- To find your county’s Shelter Supplement Plan(s) and Rental Supplement Program Plan, see the Shelter Supplements and Rental Supplements by County chart below
There are two types of Temporary Assistance: Family Assistance (FA) and Safety Net Assistance (SNA). FA is for families with children, subject to certain eligibility restrictions, including a 60-month time limit. SNA is for single individuals, childless couples, and households with children that have reached the five-year time limit. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements, including income and resource limits. For those found eligible, monthly Temporary Assistance benefits are less than 50% of the federal poverty limit in all New York counties. This page provides additional details about Temporary Assistance grants and rent supplement programs available in some local social services districts.
The monthly Temporary Assistance grant in New York State has two main parts: non-shelter and shelter.
The non-shelter portion of the public assistance grant consists of a “basic grant,” and is the same regardless of county of residence. It is based on household size:
Each Additional Person
Monthly non-shelter grant
The shelter portion of the public assistance grant, called the “shelter allowance,” is set by regulation and varies by county of residence as well as household size and composition. There are two shelter allowance schedules: one for households with children and one for households without children. The shelter allowances are dramatically lower than the actual cost of decent housing in all counties across New York State. For example, here are the shelter allowances for households with children in Albany County and Cortland County:
|Albany County Shelter Allowance||214||219||309||348||386||404|
|Cortland County Shelter Allowance||199||234||281||317||352||384|
The shelter allowances for every county are available in our Standard of Need Chart
Households also receive a “home energy allowance” and “supplemental home energy allowance” for all energy costs, other than heating. These allowances are the same regardless of county of residence and set by regulation. Combined, these energy allowances are as follows:
|Household Size||1||2||3||4||5||6||Each Add’l Person|
|Monthly non-heating energy allowance||25.10||39.50||53||68.70||84.70||97.20||+12.50|
If the household pays for heat, there’s a separate heating allowance, also set by regulation, that varies based on the heating source.
Want to learn more about the shelter and energy allowances? Click here to read Empire Justice Center’s report Turn Up the Heat: It’s Time to Raise New York’s Shelter and Fuel Allowances.
Standard of Need
Together, the shelter and non-shelter allowances are called the “standard of need.”
Click here for the current standard of need charts for all 58 social services districts. The last time the standard of need was increased was October 1, 2012.
Note: These standard of need charts indicate that Temporary Assistance grants are significantly lower than the federal poverty level. For instance, in Suffolk County, the total grant for a family of 3 with children with no other income is only $836 – 44% of the federal poverty level. Click here for a comparison of the standard of need for a family of three to the poverty level for each social services district.
Shelter Supplement Plans
Families with children and individuals who receive Temporary Assistance (FA or SNA) and who are experiencing homelessness or are at imminent risk of homelessness may be eligible for an additional grant, called a shelter supplement, to help them with their housing costs. Shelter Supplement Plans are authorized pursuant to 03-ADM-07 and 09-ADM-10.
Not all counties offer shelter supplements, and the number of available supplements in many counties is much more limited than the need. Counties set their own eligibility criteria, and those eligibility criteria vary widely. For instance, in Westchester County, families are ineligible for a shelter supplement to retain housing until they have been residents of Westchester for at least 12 months. In all counties, even with a supplement, households’ total amount of assistance is still lower than normal fair market rents. Click on the county names in the chart below to access the plans in effect as of January 1, 2022.
Rental Supplement Program Plans
Beginning in 2022, families with children and individuals, regardless of immigration status, who are experiencing homelessness or an imminent loss of housing may be eligible for assistance in the form of a rental supplement. Rental Supplement Program Plans are authorized pursuant to 21-LCM-24.
Eligibility is typically not limited to households receiving Temporary Assistance, but receipt of Temporary Assistance is not disqualifying. Not all counties offer rental supplements, and the eligibility criteria of each county’s plan differ.
Shelter Supplements and Rental Supplements by County
The chart below contains all counties in New York State outside of New York City, which has its own programs to help residents with housing costs.
Click on the county names in the charts below to access the approved plans as of April 25, 2023.
The amount of shelter supplements distributed in 2022 for every county are available in our Shelter Supplements 2022 Chart
The amount of rental supplements currently distributed for every county are available in our Rental Supplements Chart
Homeless Services Plans and Reports by County
For more information on the programs and services local districts offer to households at risk or experiencing homelessness, please see the chart below containing the available homeless services plans and reports for all social services districts. Click on the plans and reports in the charts below to access each district’s most recent homeless service plan and report.