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Other Benefits

Here you will find information about HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) and other benefit programs serving low-income households.


Session Wrap 2017: Employment & Financial Literacy
Just before the 2017 legislative session ended, a bill making two modifications to the public assistance work rules passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature. This legislation is well intentioned, designed to facilitate women’s entry into non-traditional jobs, and to offer welfare recipients financial literacy education as a work activity, but some of the details may limit the effectiveness and impact of the law. Read More

The Law in Action: Watch the Carver v. State Arguments Live on September 16th!
Next week, on Wednesday September 16th at 2 p.m., Senior Attorney Susan Antos of Empire Justice Center will appear before the highest court in the state- the Court of Appeals- to argue Carver v. the State of New York- an important case dealing with fairness for people who do workfare to be eligible for public assistance. Read More

2015 Policy Wrap Up: Screening Public Assistance Clients for Disabilities: A Promising, but Very Frustrating Development
After years of advocacy, OTDA finally chose a screening tool, the Modified Mini Screen (MMS), to identify public assistance applicants with menatl health conditions and other disabilities. Read More

Other Benefits: Articles


Empire Justice Press Release: New Yorkers Driven into Poverty by Shortsighted Policy
Today, Empire Justice Center released “Driven into Poverty: How New York’s Asset Tests Keep People Poor,” a report documenting the problems with various “asset tests” imposed by New York State on public assistance applicants. Read More

Under local laws, 911 calls turn domestic abuse victims into ‘nuisances’
Nuisance ordinances, designed to curb illegal activity in rental properties, punish survivors of violence, critics say Read More

Other Benefits: In the News


Empire Justice Testimony on the New York State Supplement Program
Empire Justice Center testimony on the impact that State takeover has had on the administration of the State Supplement Program and delivery of benefits to eligible recipients. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Require Local Districts to Credit the Minimum Wage Value of Workfare when Recovering Properly Paid Public Assistance
When an individual works off their grant by participation in workfare, it's only fair that the value of that work be credited against any recovery that the local district is entitled to make. Read More

Other Benefits: Policy Advocacy


Turn up the Heat: It’s Time to Raise New York’s Shelter and Fuel Allowances
Turn up the Heat illustrates how the public assistance shelter and fuel allowances are so far out of step with the actual costs of housing and heating, they are pushing many financially fragile New Yorkers out of homes and into homelessness. Read More


Driven into Poverty: How New York's Asset Tests Keep People Poor
Empire Justice Center’s new report, “Driven into Poverty: How New York’s Asset Tests Keep People Poor” explores the need for policy change that recognizes that it’s counter-intuitive to make people who have scrimped, saved and pinched pennies for the future impoverish themselves to get the temporary help they need to make ends meet. Read More


Other Benefits: Publications


Policy Matters - April 2013
Happy Spring! Welcome to our second April issue of Policy Matters – the extended “non-budget edition” where we will try to catch you up on the many issues we have been working on this month. Read More

Legal Services Journal - Summer 2011
The Summer 2011 Legal Services Journal reports on a wide range of poverty law topics with an emphasis on areas impacted by New York State budget cuts and other legislative activities. The issue reviews Empire Justice Center's 2011-2012 legislative priorities and includes an in-depth look at legislative activities in the domestic violence area. The Journal also reports on several key public benefits and health areas affected by the recent State budget cuts including child care, 24-hour home care and the EPIC program for seniors. Other articles address kinship guardianship, immigrant eligibility for food stamps, Medicaid Managed Care, standing to sue in foreclosure cases, upcoming changes in fair hearings, and the challenges faced by pro se litigants with disabilities when navigating the family court system. Thanks to all of our authors for their contributions to this issue of the Legal Services Journal. Read More


Collateral Consequences of Attorney Fee Awards, Cash Settlements or Damages
This session identifies the potential impact of damage awards, cash settlements and attorney fee awards on tax liability, means tested benefits, and vulnerability to creditors. It provides an example of an award in a Fair Labor Standards Act case involving a public assistance recipient who has participated in workfare, and covers the use of Supplemental Needs Trusts to protect cash settlements and awards Read More

Representing Clients with Disabilities in the Welfare Context: How to Use the Law to Help Clients with Disabilities Access Public Benefits
This session first offers tips for recognizing and working with clients with disabilities. Then, it will also provide an overview of the legal framework for disability advocacy in the welfare context. Finally, it examines selected welfare issues and how they impact clients with disabilities. This will include, for example, reasonable accommodations, the application process, the work requirements and the rules relating to drug and alcohol use. This session examines both administrative advocacy and litigation. Read More