Standard of Need by County

Empire Justice August 01, 2022

Does Temporary Assistance Meet Households’ Level of Need?


Quick Links:

  • 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:

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 Each add’l Person
Monthly non-shelter grant 158 252 336 433 534 617 +85



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:

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6
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 plans in effect as of May 23, 2022.

County Shelter Supplement Plan for Families w/ Children Shelter Supplement Plan for Singles & Childless Couples Rental Supplement Program Plan
Albany Albany RSP
Allegany Allegany RSP
Broome Broome RSP
Cattaraugus Cattaraugus RSP
Chautauqua Chautauqua RSP
Chenango Chenango RSP
Clinton Clinton SSP
Columbia Columbia SSP
Delaware Delaware RSP
Dutchess Dutchess SSP
Greene Greene SSP
Jefferson Jefferson SSP
Lewis Lewis – SSP
Madison Madison SSP
Monroe Monroe SSP
Nassau Nassau SSP Nassau SSP
Onondaga Onondaga RSP
Ontario Ontario SSP
Orange Orange SSP Orange SSP Orange RSP
Oswego Oswego RSP
Otsego Otsego SSP Otsego RSP
Rockland Rockland SSP
Schenectady Schenectady SSP
Schoharie Schoharie SSP
St. Lawrence
Steuben Steuben RSP
Suffolk Suffolk SSP Suffolk SSP
Sullivan Sullivan SSP
Ulster Ulster SSP
Warren Warren RSP
Washington Washington SSP
Westchester Westchester SSP Westchester SSP
Yates Yates SSP