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Important information about COVID-19 and your HRA benefits

Benefits Updates: September 23, 2022

  • FHEPS: Due to a change in state law which was recently signed by the Governor, starting February 16, 2022, HRA will increase the Family Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (FHEPS) payment standards. Visit our FHEPS page for more information and relevant forms.

  • Please only visit an HRA Office if your needs cannot be met through ACCESS HRA or over the phone via the HRA information line at 718-557-1399. Consult the HRA Locations page for more information.

  • All Cash Assistance and SNAP applicants that have been approved for benefits will receive an EBT card in the mail. If your EBT card has not yet arrived, you can go to the Brooklyn OTC site for your permanent card, or to a center location for a temporary card that will have all benefits available until the EBT card arrives.
    View the list of locations

  • New: Starting December 31, 2021, utility companies (electricity, oil/gas for heat) can start sending utility shut-off notices to those who owe utility arrears, unless the state of emergency is lifted prior, and for a period of 180 days after for those who suffered a change in financial circumstances due to the emergency. If you get a utility shut-off notice, help is available. You can apply for an emergency assistance grant (also known as a one-shot deal) to help pay utility expenses owed using ACCESS HRA.

  • New: As of 10:00 PM on January 11, 2022, the ERAP application portal reopened and is accepting new applications. Applying for State ERAP will provide tenants with certain protections while the State makes a decision on their application. Clients may apply by going to http://www.otda.ny.gov/erap, by calling 1-844-NY1-RENT (1-844-691-7368), or by contacting one of the community-based organizations listed below. HRA will not require clients to apply for ERAP before processing an application for rental assistance. For more info on ERAP call: 1-844-NY1-RENT (1-844-691-7368) or click: ERAP FAQs.


  • Apply for Cash Assistance or Emergency One Time Assistance with the ACCESS HRA. An HRA staff member will call you to complete your eligibility interview. New Yorkers can use ACCESS HRA online or download the ACCESS HRA app to view case information, apply for a Special Grants, and much more.

  • New: If you receive Cash Assistance and have lost your job or had a change in your income, you do not need to submit a new application. Use the ACCESS HRA website and mobile app to submit a case change online. Next, please submit documents that prove the change to your income. Get more information about the documents you can use and the ways to submit your documents for Cash Assistance.

  • New: If you receive SNAP benefits and have lost your job or had a change in your income, please submit a Case Change using ACCESS HRA. You do not need to submit a new application. You will need to submit documents to prove the change you report.

  • Note: If you have to recertify your SNAP benefits within the next 75 days, you cannot submit a Case Change on ACCESS HRA. Please click on the link below to learn how you can submit your documents to HRA. Learn more about the documents you can use and the ways to submit your documents for SNAP benefits.

  • You can you also apply for SNAP or Cash Assistance by mail. Send Cash Assistance applications to the open HRA Benefits Access Center location in your borough. Send SNAP applications to:

    HRA/Family Independence Administration
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
    Mail Application Referral Unit
    PO. Box 29197
    Brooklyn, NY 11201-9956

Service Information

Emergency Assistance

If you or your family are in urgent need of assistance, please use the information below.

In case of emergency, call 9-1-1.

For urgent food and hunger needs, call the Emergency FoodLine at 1-866-888-8777.

For temporary housing assistance, call 3-1-1 or visit a location.

For shelter, call 3-1-1 or visit a location.

For mental health or substance abuse help, call 800-543-3638.

For domestic violence services, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-621-4673 or call/visit a Family Justice Center.

Important Information about Recertifications

  • Recertifications: If you receive a Cash Assistance or SNAP recertification notice by mail or an ACCESS HRA alert that you need to recertify, you must submit your recertification or your benefits will stop. You can use ACCESS HRA, fax, mail, or a drop box at open centers to submit your recertification. Please make sure that we have your correct phone number. You can check it and update it on ACCESS HRA website or the ACCESS HRA Mobile App. Learn about the ways you can submit your recertification and supporting documents.

  • CA six-month mailer/SNAP periodic report: Starting in April 2022, all Cash Assistance and SNAP households that are due to return either a CA Six-Month Mailer or a SNAP Periodic Report must do so to keep getting benefits. Households who failed to return their mailer/report in January, February or March 2022 did not have their case closed for failing to return the mailer/report.

Legal Services for Tenants Facing Eviction – NYC’s Right-to-Counsel Law

Are you facing an eviction in court? Under New York City's Right-to-Counsel (RTC) law, DSS/HRA's Office of Civil Justice (OCJ) provides tenants facing eviction in Housing Court or NYCHA administrative proceedings with access to free legal representation and advice provided by nonprofit legal services organizations from across the five boroughs. For more information on your rights as a tenant, including answers to questions about your lease or what to do if you are behind on your rent, call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline.

Health Assistance Information

HRA’s Medical Assistance Program can help New Yorkers who qualify enroll in public health insurance programs like Medicaid. During the COVID-19 Emergency, applications may be submitted via fax to 917-639-0732. New Yorkers can also call the HRA Medicaid Helpline at 1-888-692-6116 for help with their application. Visit HRA's Health Assistance page for more information.

COVID-19 Easements

New Applications

Clients may attest to all elements of eligibility except Immigration Status and Identity, if immigration document does not also prove identity. Copies of documents that prove immigration/identity status should still be submitted. Do not submit original documents. If clients are unable to submit this documentation due to the COVID-19 Emergency, the application should still be submitted. Clients will be given an opportunity to submit the documents later. Clients whose citizenship status is not verified through data sources will also be given an opportunity to submit the documents later.

Clients do not need to provide proof of their Medicare application; this requirement is waived for the period of the COVID-19 emergency.

Renewals

During the COVID-19 emergency, Medicaid cases with authorization ending in March 2020 through December 2020 and January 2021 through December 2022 will be automatically extended. Any case that is closed for failure to renew or failure to provide documentation during COVID-19 will be re-opened and coverage restored to ensure no gap in coverage. Excess resources cases will be extended for 6 months. Surplus cases will be extended 6 months. See below for information regarding coverage for Surplus cases.

The renewal extension applies to all renewal cases including Office of Mail Renewal, MLTC, Nursing Home Eligibility, Medicare Savings Program, MBI-WPD (entitled to 6 months extended grace period if loss of employment), Stenson/Recipients who lose their SSI eligibility and Rosenberg/Recipients who lose their eligibility for cash assistance.

Surplus

If you are unable to submit payment because of health issues related to COVID-19, such as quarantine or hospitalization, you can attest that you either have the money or the bills to satisfy your surplus and are unable to submit them due to COVID-19 by calling the Surplus Hotline at 929-221-0835.

  • Name
  • CIN
  • Phone Number
  • Attest to health issues related to Covid-19 such as quarantine or hospitalization.
  • If submitting a bill, please provide the name of the provider, the date of the service, and the amount of the bill.
  • If submitting a payment, please indicate the amount of the payment. Please do not leave credit card information on the voicemail.
  • Clients will only receive a call back if additional information is needed.
  • If the requested information is provided, coverage will be extended for 6 months.

Burial Assistance

To address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, DSS/HRA issued an emergency rule:

  • Increasing the burial allowance from $900 to $1,700 and increasing the cap on burial costs from $1,700 to $3,400.
  • Extending the timeframe for when you can apply to 120 days from the date of the individual‘s death.

Applications received on or after March 12, 2020, will be considered for the increased burial assistance allowance. All applications received will be reviewed regardless of immigration status

Expanded SNAP eligibility for college students during the COVID-19 emergency

During the COVID-19 emergency, there are new rules for the SNAP program which will allow more college students to get benefits.

  • If you are a student eligible to participate in a state or federal work-study program, you may now also be eligible for SNAP, even if you aren't currently employed in work-study.
  • If your "expected family contribution" (EFC*) is $0, and you meet other SNAP eligibility requirements, you are eligible for SNAP.

*Your EFC is found in your Student Aid Report and it is calculated based on information provided in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

These new SNAP eligibility rules will last until one month after the public health emergency from COVID-19 is officially lifted. If you are able to get benefits thanks to these new rules, your benefits will last until your next recertification even if the public health emergency is ended first.

Other Important Information