We provide benefits and services to sustain families and individuals and assist them to achieve independence.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are presently conducting as much business as possible by telephone and videoconference.
If you need help and don't already have an appointment, please review the program descriptions below and use the contact information provided for the one that best fits your needs.
Affordable 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.
Emergency Assistance for SNAP Households
All New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program previously have been receiving the maximum monthly benefit available under the program since last March, with this Emergency Assistance being extended on a month-by-month basis ever since. This alert will be updated when the State announces that the monthly maximum benefit payment has been discontinued.
For more information, visit https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19 and read the Frequently Asked Questions for the Emergency Allotment of SNAP Benefits page on the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's website.
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:
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.
Financial and Emergency Assistance
Cash & Emergency Assistance - 274-5345
Appointments - 274-5348
Cash Assistance programs provide financial help to families and individuals as well as some emergency assistance. Income eligibility standards and benefit levels vary depending on the household situation.
Housing Assistance - 274-5644 or 274-5341
Domestic Violence - 274-5293 or 274-5038
Food Assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
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 Programs - Information - 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 - 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)
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.
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
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 – 274-5266
Adoption/Post Adoption Services – 274-5615 & 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
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
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
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.