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Social Services

We provide benefits and services to sustain families and individuals and assist them to achieve independence.


New York's Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system is expected to be unavailable on Sunday, May 19,202, between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  The actual outage may be shorter or last longer than expected.  For more information, click here.


Chafee Funds Program - Beyond

The Chafee Funds Program - Beyond is awarding eligible current and former foster youth direct cash awards.

To learn more about this program, click here.


Child Care Assistance Program (formerly 'Day Care')

New Online Eligibility Questionnaire!

Just answer a few questions to see if you can get child care at low or even no cost - in 10 minutes or less!

To learn more about this new online service provided by NYS OCFS, click here

For information about calculating your Gross Monthly Income, please click here.


Food Assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-SNAP)/Headstart Update

There has been a change in federal Head Start policy that simplifies the process for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households to be deemed eligible for Head Start programs.

In partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced on April 21, 2022, that SNAP recipients are now considered categorically eligible for Head Start programs. 

For more information please click here. (en Espanol)


Cartoon people using wireless devicesAffordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

This is a newly-launched Federal program that provides low-income households with discounts of up to $30 a month for internet service as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 on the purchase of a computer or tablet.

Although our Department does not have a role in administering this Federal program, we want to do our part to make potentially eligible persons aware that it is available.  For more information, see the informational flyer at this link or go ACPBenefit.org, where you can also apply or print out a mail-in application.


cellphone

Mobile Document Uploads

We are pleased to announce that a free State-sponsored mobile device app call NYDocSubmit is now available for use by applicants for and  recipients of certain benefits programs to submit photos of their documents rather than coming to the Department in person to submit hardcopies.  (Persons who can't download the app to their own device can permit others who have done so to upload their documents for them.)

For more information, please open the the following links:

   NYS OTDA's dedicated NYDocSubmit web page
   NYDocSubmit Quick Reference      


Information about Kinship Care

When a child is unable to continue living with their family of origin, members of the extended family or even family friends are sometimes able and willing to become their primary caregivers.  These arrangements are often more successful than those in which kids are placed in the care of persons whom they don't know. 

For more information about non-parent caregiver placements and the financial and other supports for them that are available through the Department of Social Services, please visit our Kinship Care page. 


Temporary Assistance

Cash assistance program based on income and resources. Assistance can be issued on an ongoing basis or to meet an emergency need for housing or heat/utilities. Visit the NY State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website.


Food Assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
(607) 274-5201

Previously known as Food Stamps, the Federal SNAP program provides low-income households monthly benefits to purchase food. Income and resource standards vary according to age, health, household size and household expenditures.

You or your authorized representative can apply for SNAP either online at https://mybenefits.ny.gov/mybenefits/begin or by completing a New York State-prescribed form manually and mailing it to or dropping it off at the Department of Social Services.

The following links contain important information:

For more information -- including how to file a complaint if you feel that you've been discriminated against -- click here for the SNAP page on New York State's Office of Family and Disability Assistance website.


Medicaid
Medicaid Programs - Information - (607) 274-5244
New York State of Health - 1-855-355-5777 or https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov
Medicaid Transportation - 1-866-753-4543
Medicaid Managed Care - (607) 274-5245

Medicaid is an income-based assistance program for the medically indigent. Income and resource standards vary depending on age, health, household size, and certain household expenditures. Depending on the type of medical services sought, some applicants will not need to provide resource information; or they may be able to provide written attestation of their household’s resources. Medicaid coverage ranges from skilled nursing home care to routine medical care. Medicaid may pay for health insurance premiums including Medicare. Partial Medicaid coverage is available in some situations.


Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
(607) 274-5264

This Federal program helps low-income households meet the high costs of home energy.  Income and resource eligibility standards, as well as available funding, change from year to year.  For more information, see our dedicated web page for this program (http://tompkinscountyny.gov/dss/HEAP), or access one of the following New York State websites:


Child Care (Day Care) Subsidies

New York State Child Care Block Grant-funded subsidies assist parents/caretakers to pay for child care while they participate in qualifying employment, training, or educational programs.  Care my take the form of traditional 'day care' or on another schedule, depending on the schedules of parents/caretakers and of available providers.  Please see our dedicated page for more information about this program.

To be screened and request an application, contact our Low Income Child Care Unit at (607) 274-5219.

For help either finding or becoming a child care provider, please contact the Child Development Council at (607) 273-0259.


Transportation Resources
If you are a client of the Department of Social Services, please contact your case manager for assistance. If you're unable to reach him or her, our county Human Services Coalition's Information and Referral service is staffed 24 hours a day and can be reached either by dialing 211 or through their website.  

Other transportation-related links which may be useful:  


Child Support Services
Child Support Unit - 1-888-208-4485

Assists custodial parents in the establishment of paternity for children born out of wedlock; works to establish court orders regarding child support responsibilities of non-custodial parents; enforces child support orders through collection methods which may include income executions against absent parents' wages and unemployment benefits and seizure of income tax refunds and lottery winnings; receives and disburses child support payments.


Child Abuse Emergency Number
1-800-342-3720 (NYS Hotline.  Toll-free, 24 hours/day)


Child Protective Services
(607)274-5610

CPS responds to reports of child abuse and maltreatment with an assessment or investigation and provides protective/preventive services to families and children.

Catholic Charities' Community Connections program (272-5062 extension 28) provides help & support for parents going through the CPS process and or who have had their children placed in foster care.


Foster Care Homefinding, Adoption & Post Adoption Services
Foster Homefinding – (607) 274-5266
Adoption/Post Adoption Services – (607) 274-5615 & (607) 274-5309. 

Foster Care Services Unit provides recruitment and retention of qualified, caring families who are willing to provide temporary foster care and work with families toward reunification. Available for our certified foster families when children cannot return to their parents. Information, referral, and clinical support provided


Youth and Family Services
(607) 274-5270

Temporary placement in foster homes, group homes, or institutions for children who temporarily cannot live at home. Provides preventive services to families, and court diversion services for youth.


Adult Protective Services
(607) 274-5323

Investigates reports of abuse/neglect of adults, provides financial management, case management, and legal interventions necessary for the protection of at-risk adults.


Long Term Care Services
(607) 274-5278

Tompkins Care Connection provides information and referral about long term care and other services such as home delivered meals, respite, and home health care.
The program also provides in-home assessments, in-home aide service, and PRI (Patient Review Instrument) assessments to determine the level of care and type of skilled nursing facility most appropriate for the individual.