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Keep in mind the following:
CA cannot be provided directly to a person who is younger than 16 years.
But it can be provided to anyone older than 16 years who is eligible.
Also, if it seems that you might be eligible for other benefits beside CA, HRA can make you apply for those other benefits.
Example: if you are disabled HRA may ask you to apply for SSI, if you just lost your job they may ask that you apply for Unemployment Insurance. If you are 62 or older, HRA may ask you to apply for Social Security retirement benefits. But while you are applying for those other benefits, HRA must continue to process the CA application.
Where Must I Live?
To get Cash Assistance in New York City you must be living in the city. You must provide information about where you are living, especially if you want HRA to help with the rent. But, if you are homeless or do not have a steady place to stay, that is not a legal reason to reject your application. In that case, you should, if possible, provide some address so that you can receive mail.
Must I Be A U.S. Citizen?
No, you can be an immigrant and still get CA.
Are all immigrants eligible for CA?
No, only certain kinds of immigrants are eligible for CA. The rules differ slightly for Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance. To understand which immigrants are eligible, you must know what a Qualified Alien is.
What is a Qualified Alien?
A qualified alien is a term used to describe specific immigration statuses which include legal permanent residents, refugees, political asylees, those who have withholding of deportation, parolees who have been admitted to the U.S. for at least one year, those who were granted conditional entrant, Cuban/Haitian entrants, and Amerasians, and certain battered immigrants and their children who are in the process of obtaining a green card, under a special provision called the “Violence Against Women Act”. If you are not in one of these immigration statuses you probably are not eligible to receive CA. However, you may want to check with an agency to make sure.
So which immigrants are eligible for CA?
Family Assistance U.S. citizens Qualified aliens who entered the U.S. before 8/22/96 Qualified aliens who entered the country on or after 8/22/96 are
ineligible for benefits for 5 years, with the following exceptions:
o Refugees and asylees o Immigrants who have had their deportation withheld, and o A qualified alien who is on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, or honorably discharged veterans, their spouses, widows and dependent children.
Safety Net Assistance Qualified aliens regardless of their date of entry Non-qualified aliens who are here legally and permanently with permission from INS.
Who is not eligible for CA?
Individuals without a legal status (undocumented) or those with temporary status such as a tourist or here on a student visa do not meet the citizenship criteria.
What if I am undocumented, but my child was born here?
People who are undocumented immigrants are not eligible for CA. But if you have children who were born in this country, then your children are U.S. citizens and are eligible for CA.
What should I do at the Job Center when I apply for my children?
Many people have been afraid to apply for their children, but the government policy is clear: A person should be permitted to apply for his or her children. You should write on the application “Due to my immigration status, I am not applying for benefits for myself.” You will still, however, need to provide information about your income and resources.
Will CA report me to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if I do this?
No. CA will not report you to the USCIS.
Must I Have A Job?
You do not need to have a job to get CA. But when you begin to get your benefits, you will probably be assigned to work activities by the agency.
What if I have a job already?
If you are working when you apply, your income will be counted when they figure out how much your CA benefits will be.
How Do I Apply for CA?
You apply at a Job Center. You must complete an application and give the Job Center documents that prove you meet the eligibility criteria of CA.
Call the HRA Information line at (718) 557-1399 for the closest Job Center.
You can also print an application from the Internet at http://otda.ny.gov/main/programs/applications/2921.pdf and instructions are available at http://otda.ny.gov/main/programs/applications/1301.pdf. You can also call 311 and ask for an application to be mailed to you.
What happens during the application process?
When you first go to the Job Center two things should happen:
You should be given an application form and an appointment to return within a few days. The application is pretty long and complicated. You should fill it out the best you can, and when you return the worker should help you complete it.
The worker should ask if you have any immediate needs. You may be
o An immediate needs grant, which is a small amount of cash if you have no money at all. This grant can be provided the same day you go to the center, or o Expedited food stamps can be provided on the same day, or o Emergency assistance to help with an immediate emergency such as a dispossess or eviction notice, or if you are in danger of having your electricity or gas shut off.
What will I have to do during the application process?
Many things can happen during the application process. Most people who
apply will have to go to the following appointments:
Finger imaging for each adult 18 and over, An Eligibility Verification (EVR) appointment, An employment planner, Child support enforcement, if a parent is not living in the household, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), if the Job Center worker believes you are a substance abuser, Domestic abuse liaison, if you claim there is domestic abuse, and A child care return appointment, if you not have child care but you are able to do work activities Work activities – HRA may require you to do certain things to try to get a job. One example is job search, where you will have to make phone calls or visit places where you may be able to find a job.
A home visit - someone from HRA will visit you at your home, to make sure you really live there. A home visit must ordinarily be conducted during normal business hours, unless there are reasons why that is not practical. You have to try to be at home when they come, or call them to make a new appointment if you miss them.
► Note: If you do not go to these appointments your case may close.
What documents must I bring?
Different people will sometimes need different documents, but there are
certain things that almost everyone must bring, such as:
Proof of Identity Driver’s License Photo ID Birth certificate Proof of Income Pay stub for the previous four weeks Award letters for other benefits Proof of Resources Bank book/savings account statements Checking account statements for past two months Proof of Residence Rent receipt Recent utility bill Lease Proof of Citizenship/Immigration U.S. Passport Citizenship papers USCIS Documentation Proof of Social Security Number Proof that school-age children are attending school
If you are applying for Safety Net Assistance, you should receive written notice of the decision within 45 days.
What if I am denied benefits?
If your application is denied, the notice should tell you the reasons why.
The notice should also give information of how to request an appeal, called a Fair Hearing, to review the decision, if you disagree with that decision.
How Do I Keep Cash Assistance?
You have to continue to prove that you meet all the eligibility criteria even after you are first approved. This process is known as recertification.
How often must I recertify?
After you become eligible for CA, you must recertify at least twice a year, sometimes more to keep your CA benefits.
How will I know when to recertify?
You will receive a written notice by mail that will tell you to report to the center on a certain day and time. The notice will also tell you what kinds of documents you should bring. You should not have to bring all of the documents that you brought to the application, because some of those things never change (like birth certificates). You will mainly have to bring the kinds of documents that might have changed since you last recertified, such as your lease, or your pay stubs, if you have a job.
Is there anything else I must do to remain eligible?
In addition to recertification, you will have to cooperate with HRA when they
ask you to do certain things. These include:
report changes in the household report changes in income cooperate with the Office of Child Support Enforcement participate, if you are able, in the work program What Are My Rights?
Almost any time that HRA makes a decision about your case, they must send you a written notice. This includes when they want to accept your case, reject your case, close your case, take back some of the benefits they gave you or lower your grant. In all of these cases, they must send a notice that describes what they are going to do and why. You have both informal and formal rights.
What are my informal rights?
This is the process of trying to communicate, on your own, with agency workers to get your situation resolved. Your informal right is to speak with your worker or your worker’s supervisor. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to get an appointment to be seen. You also have the right to request an informal conference, again on your own or perhaps with an advocate, to get the problem resolved. Call your local center and request a conference.
What are my formal rights?
Your formal right is to request a fair hearing. This is the process where you, a representative for the city, and a NYS judge come together and discuss your case. The NYS judge hears the case and makes the decision on your issues. A fair hearing must be requested within 60 days of the date on your notice, if you received one. Otherwise as soon as you know there is a problem with your case request a fair hearing immediately. To request a fair hearing call: (800) 342-3334.
For adjournments call: (877) 209-1134
To make the request in writing:
New York State OTDA Office of Administrative Hearings P.O. Box 1930 Albany, New York 12201 To request a fair hearing by fax: (518) 473-6735
For online fair hearing request forms or to make a request online go to:
www.otda.state.ny.us/oahforms/erequestform.aspx What happens at the fair hearing?
There will be a judge who works for the state, HRA will have someone there to explain why they believe they are doing the right thing, and you will have the opportunity to explain why you believe they are not correct.
When you prepare for a hearing, you should think about whether there are documents or witnesses that can help you win your case. You can also have a lawyer, paralegal, social worker, a community advocate, or even a friend, help you at your hearing.
What is aid continuing?
If you are receiving CA and are mailed a notice that states that your CA will end, you can continue to receive CA if you request a fair hearing within 10 days of the date on the notice. This is known as aid continuing.
Aid continuing is not automatic; you must state on the fair hearing request that you want your aid to continue until the fair hearing decision.
HRA Job Center locations:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/hra/html/services/job_centers.shtml Legal Aid Society http://www.legal-aid.org Finding Legal Services www.lawhelp.org Benefits Plus Information Line Benefit Counselors (212) 614-5552