Temporary Assistance 

Temporary Assistance is a cash assistance program available to support those who are living below the poverty level based upon income and resources.  Assistance can be issued on an on-going basis or to meet an emergency need for housing or heat/utilities.

The two primary Temporary Assistance programs are Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance. These programs provide the same level of assistance to a household, but serve different populations and have some different rules.

  • Family Assistance – Family Assistance provides cash assistance to eligible needy families that include a minor child living with a parent (or both parents) or a caretaker relative. The program is governed by federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines, which limit an individual’s eligibility for Family Assistance to five years. After that time, if the family otherwise remains eligible, assistance may be received through the Safety Net Assistance program.


  • Safety Net Assistance – Safety Net Assistance provides assistance to eligible needy individuals without children and other households not eligible for Family Assistance. Households that reach the five-year time limit for Family Assistance are automatically moved into the Safety Net Assistance program if they remain otherwise eligible for benefits. These households are required to have their shelter and utility allowances paid directly to their landlord and utility provider.


Non-parent caregivers, who are caring for children without a parent living in their home, may be eligible for Temporary Assistance. Temporary Assistance for children not living with a parent is often referred to as “non-parent caregiver” or “child-only” grants, and includes Medical Assistance (MA). If the non-parent caregiver wants assistance only for the children, the non-parent caregiver’s income is not used to determine eligibility and there are no Temporary Assistance work requirements for the non-parent caregiver.

For more information regarding Temporary Assistance, please review this New York State Office of Temporary Assistance Fact Sheet.

Details regarding Temporary Assistance Employment Services are available in this TA Employment Services Fact Sheet.

Para mas informacion sobre la Asistencia Temporal, porfavor revise esta hoja informativa de la oficina de Asistencia Temporal del Estado de Nueva York.

Detalles sobre Asistencia Temporal de Empleo estan disponibles en esta hoja informativa de Asistencia Temporal de Empleo.



To find out if you are eligible to receive Temporary Assistance, including help with an emergency, you need to file an application with our Agency.  You may complete the DSS-2921 “Application for Services” and either bring it or mail it to our office.  Applications may also be completed in person at our office, or you may request an application be mailed to you by calling (315) 946-4881 and asking for an application for temporary assistance.


A face-to-face interview with DSS staff is required.  You can request an application for assistance by calling 315-946-4881 or coming into the agency.  You will be scheduled for an Orientation appointment at Workforce Development and an interview for assistance at DSS.

For a list of personal information that you will be required to provide proof of during your interview, please visit this website:  http://otda.ny.gov/programs/temporary-assistance/#apply