Office of Financial Empowerment
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DCA's Resources directory includes Key Contacts and specific services you may need, including recovering financially, tips on hiring home improvement contractors and how to avoid buying flood-damaged cars, and more.
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Get additional Hurricane Sandy information 
New Yorkers Share Their Financial Counseling Experiences in DCA's "You Can Tackle Your Debt" Campaign
Eight New Yorkers share their stories about taking control of their finances with the help of one of the City's free Financial Empowerment Center services. Since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched the first Center in 2008, our professional financial counselors have conducted more than 32,000 individual sessions, helping over 17,000 New Yorkers reduce their debt by more than $7.5 million. DCA urges New Yorkers to schedule a free one-on-one counselor appointment at one of the City's nearly 30 Financial Empowerment Center locations across the five boroughs. Share your stories by tweeting @NYCDCA using #YouCan or post to our Facebook page.
Read the press release
Visit the Protect Your Money Web site to watch videos, view campaign ads, and learn more 

Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Coalition Receives Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) Assets & Opportunity Award
CFE Coalition Co-Chair Commissioner Mintz Accepts Award for NYC; Announces Release of Third Report in DCA’s "Supervitamin" Series
At its biennial Assets Learning Conference in Washington, D.C., CFED honored the 12 CFE Coalition member cities for their work advancing innovative programs that help families with low incomes save and build wealth. In conjunction with the Award, Commissioner Mintz announced the release of Municipal Financial Empowerment: A Supervitamin for Public Programs, Strategy #3: Integrating Safe and Affordable Bank Accounts. The Report details DCA’s efforts to increase access to mainstream banking for the City’s more than 825,000 unbanked adults, including the availability of on-site direct deposit enrollment.
Read press release
Download Report #3
Download the Compilation (Reports #1, #2, #3)
Visit CFE Coalition Web site  


DCA Releases New Report in "Supervitamin" Series
Second Report Focuses on Professionalizing the Field of Financial Education and Counseling
DCA’s efforts to provide high quality, consistent and demonstrably effective financial counseling at scale and professionalize the field itself are highlighted in Report #2. The Report also details DCA's partnerships with The City University of New York and Columbia University School of Social Work to create comprehensive financial counselor trainings that can serve as  models for national accreditation. Other efforts toward professionalization include standardizing the approach to financial counseling as well as outcomes measurements, and developing a network of practitioners.
Read the press release
Download Report #2
Download Report #1
Learn more about the City's Financial Empowerment Centers
Visit Cities for Financial Empowerment Web site to read about Financial Empowerment Initiative  


DCA Offers Back-to-School Money Lessons for Kids of All Ages
The back-to-school shopping season is a perfect opportunity to help kids learn how to be responsible with money. DCA is promoting lesson plans—with fun activities—for preschool through high school grade levels that parents can use with their children. Do you have back-to-school money lessons to share? Tweet @NYCDCA or post to our Facebook page.
Get Back-to-School Money Lessons
Watch NY1 Money Matters report
Visit Money as You Grow, a Web site developed by The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability   


DCA Releases New “How To” Videos to Help Consumers Protect Their Money
DCA's video series offers tips and information about City programs and services that are available to consumers and businesses. Watch:

Visit the Protect Your Money Web site  


DCA’s Newest “Protect Your Money” Campaign Highlights How Agency Can Help Consumers and Businesses
"How Can Consumer Affairs Help You Today” Features Real Staff Advising Businesses and Consumers about Essential Services
Consumer Affairs staff shares ways DCA serves businesses and protects consumers, including:

  • Helping businesses get or renew a DCA license
  • Mediating consumer complaints against a business
  • Educating businesses through DCA’s online Business Toolbox, evening Open Houses, and annual Business Education Day
  • Inspecting businesses to ensure customers are treated fairly
  • Helping New Yorkers take control of their finances through the City’s free Financial Empowerment Centers

Want to ask Consumer Affairs how we can help you? Tweet @NYCDCA using #HiDCA or post to our Facebook page. The Protect Your Money campaign series educates New Yorkers about City services to help them manage and protect their money.
View the ads and learn more about our Protect Your Money campaigns  


Shred Fest is May 20
5th Annual Free City Event Helps New Yorkers Prevent Identity Theft
Shred your papers containing personal information safely and for free at one of 14 Shred Fest locations throughout the City. Get DCA’s identity theft prevention tips and the first four people to arrive with their papers at each site will receive a free personal shredder, donated by Staples.
Find a free Shred Fest location
Get identity theft prevention tips for consumers and businesses  


DCA and Center for Economic Opportunity Release SaveUSA Program Implementation: Insights from the Field
This brief documents findings from Year 1 of SaveUSA, a national tax time matched savings program designed by DCA’s Office of Financial Empowerment that received federal funding for replication and testing in New York and three additional cities. In the first year of the program, participants with an average income of $18,000 opened more than 1,600 SaveUSA accounts with close to $1 million in savings, confirming that families with low incomes can, and will, save if presented with the right opportunity. SaveUSA is an initiative of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and Center for Economic Opportunity Social Innovation Fund, and was implemented in New York City, Newark, San Antonio, and Tulsa.
Download the brief
View Research Publications
Learn about the Social Innovation Fund 


Cities for Financial Empowerment Rings The Opening Bell on April 11 as NYSE Euronext Commemorates Financial Literacy Week (April 9-13)
Watch video
Visit CFE Web site 




Tax Day is April 17. Go Get Your Refund!
New Yorkers who earn $57,000 or less a year can claim refunds by filing for free at City-sponsored tax sites or online or for only $29 at H&R Block with the City coupon. DCA’s Tax Credit Campaign Web pages offer information on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and NYC Child Care Tax Credit (CCTC). New Yorkers should ask their tax preparers how to claim these credits and get money back!
Read the press release
Learn how to file your taxes for free or low cost
Read Tax Credit Fast Facts
View DCA’s Tax Time video for Protect Your Money video series
View DCA's Tax Time public service announcement for Inform NYC video series 

DCA Declares Predatory Schools Top Fraud of the Year
Commissioner Mintz highlighted predatory school scams as top consumer complaint during a press conference with the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau and other Federal and State agencies and organizations. Citing the "Protect Your Money: Know Before You Enroll" campaign, Commissioner Mintz urged consumers to take advantage of City services and programs to:

  • Research training programs
  • Find free and low-cost adult education and job training options
  • Get help understanding school contracts
  • File a complaint about a predatory school
  • Get free help with school debt and budgeting at an NYC Financial Empowerment Center

Read the press release and get tips
Visit the Protect Your Money Web site to view ads and learn more
Find a Financial Empowerment Center near you 






DCA Issues Violations to One out of Three Tax Preparers during Citywide Sweep to Protect Filers

DCA Issues Violations to One out of Three Tax Preparers during Citywide Sweep to Protect Filers
Illegally Marketed Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) among Top Violations; New Yorkers Urged to Use the City’s Safe Free or Low-Cost Tax Filing Options
Over a two-week period DCA conducted close to 850 inspections, issuing more than 1,000 violations to tax preparers who:

  • deceptively advertised high-interest RALs as "fast cash" or "instant refunds”
  • violated consumer rights
  • misrepresented their qualifications

Total fines could reach nearly $1 million.
Read press release and get tips
File your taxes for free or low cost
What you need to know about RALs   


Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Mintz Urge Eligible Filers to Sign Up for SaveUSA Matched Tax Time Savings Program and Announce 2011 Results
10th Annual Tax Credit Campaign Includes Free or Low-Cost Filing Options
Filers across four cities, including NYC, opened more than 1,600 SaveUSA accounts, with total savings close to $1 million. At select free tax sites in NYC, eligible filers can open the SaveUSA account and earn a 50 percent match—up to $500—when they save part of their refund for one year. Eligible New Yorkers can also file their taxes online for free or get their taxes done at a participating H&R Block for $29.
Read the press release
Learn how to file your taxes for free or low cost
Learn about the SaveUSA program
Get information about tax credits, including Earned Income Tax Credit
View DCA’s Tax Time video on YouTube
View DCA's tax time public service announcement for Inform NYC video series 


DCA Launches YouTube Channel with Three New Protect Your Money Videos
Visit DCA on YouTube to view the latest releases in the Protect Your Money video series. Featuring agency staff who offer straightforward tips and information on how to protect your hard-earned dollars, videos include:
    • Introduction from Commissioner Mintz
    • It’s Tax Time. Go Get Your Refund!
    • Know Your Rights about Debt Collection
    • Tips on Buying a Used Car
    • Shopping Tips
    • File a Complaint with DCA
Videos are available in English and Spanish.
Read the press release
Visit DCA’s YouTube channel
Visit the Protect Your Money Web site 


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