Getting Help From The Social Service SystemIn New York State, all victims of domestic violence, regardless of income, are entitled to emergency services including shelter, counseling, support groups, advocacy and other crisis services. You may own property, have bank accounts or other assets, but if you are not able to get to them, you may still be entitled to help. In fact, if you are in immediate need, and you are eligible, you are entitled to receive help on the same day you ask for it.
If you are eligible for services, the Department of Social Services (Human Resources Administration or HRA in NYC) may be able to help you:
Click here for the county section to locate your local Department of Social Services (in NYC, look under the Human Resources Administration for your local Income Support Center.) Call before going to make sure that it is the proper office for your address (the place where you are staying, even if it is temporary). Your local domestic violence program can also assist you in applying for social services.
- arrange and pay for a safe place for you and your children to stay;
- provide for emergency medical assistance (Medicaid);
- arrange for Expedited Food Stamps so that you can buy food right away;
- pay for storing your furniture and other personal belongings;
- pay for moving expenses, rent, security deposit or agreement, or brokers or finders fees;
- pay for household items needed to set up a home;
- pay for transportation for your Children to go to and from school while your family is in emergency housing.
If you have been beaten, abused or threatened with violence, the Department of Social Services will consider this an "emergency" and must interview you and make a decision regarding emergency assistance on the same day. If you are already getting Public Assistance and you have an emergency, tell the worker right away. If you are not getting Public Assistance, fill out an application and tell the worker that you have an emergency. You should complete the application and give it back on the same day you receive it. Your worker will tell you what information you need to get before you can get assistance to meet your emergency needs. You will be asked for proof of who you are and of who your family members are. The worker will also want to know if you have any income or resources, such as bank accounts or property. If you cannot get the information, your worker must try to help you get the information.
If it is determined that your need is immediate, you should receive emergency shelter or food stamps or a food voucher the same day.
If you are not in an emergency, you will be given an application and a list of necessary documents to prove eligibility. Appendix A shows those items you will need to prove certain things. Gather the documents and return to the center on the date of your interview. You will see a worker who will check the form and documents. If everything is filled in properly, you have all the documents, and you are eligible for assistance, your case will be recommended for opening. If you need to bring more documents, a decision will be delayed. You will be given a list of what is needed and a date to return. You should be told within thirty days of the date you turn in your paperwork if your application is approved or denied. If you do not have children, the decision may take up to forty-five days.
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