Info Finder

 Printable version
- Frequently Asked Questions -

Economic Assistance



Economic Assistance
Q.   What is the procedure for collecting unemployment benefits?

In order to collect unemployment benefits, you must first qualify for those benefits.  See New York State Department of Labor's Before You Apply For Unemployment: Frequently Asked Questions webpage to determine whether or not you meet the qualifications.  Detailed information for claimants about how to file a claim, certifying for weekly benefits, etc. can be found on the New York State Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance Division webpages.  

Go to top of page

Q.   What are the qualifications for Medicaid and how does one apply?

Medicaid is based on income, not on age.  Call Office For The Aging at (845) 486-2555 for an application.

Go to top of page

Q.   My child has no health insurance. How do I find health insurance for my child?

You can get health insurance for your child by applying for Child Health Plus.  Child Health Plus is New York State funded comprehensive health insurance coverage for children birth - 19 years of age.  To find out whether you are eligible for Child Health Plus call the Community Action Partnership of Dutchess County at (845) 452-5104 (Poughkeepsie); (845) 831-2620 (Beacon); (845) 876-1611 (Red Hook); (845) 877-9272 (Dover Plains) or log on to their website at http://www.dutchesscap.org/.

Go to top of page

Q.   What are the eligibility criteria for the Community Solutions for Transportation Program?

The eligibility criteria for the Community Solutions for Transportation Program are:

  • the applicant must be financially responsible for a minor child who is under the age of 18 or under the age of 19 and attending secondary school or an equivalent level of vocational or technical training, and
  • the applicant must be in receipt of Family Assistance through the Department of Social Services or have income less than 200% of the poverty level, and
  • the applicant must have a have a work-related transportation need.

Generally, minor-age children without children of their own are not eligible for TANF services.  The best thing to do is to apply for the CST service and the program administrator will determine your eligibility.

Go to top of page

Q.   How would I apply for assistance such as TANF, Emergency Assistance, Emergency Housing or Medicaid and what would I need to bring?

You can apply for assistance by appearing at the Dutchess County Department of Social Services’ office at 60 Market Street, Poughkeepsie any morning at 8:30. You will need to complete an application for assistance. The Public Assistance division interviews that day anyone who applies between 8:30 AM and 12:00 PM. Anyone who appears after noon is asked to return the next day prior to noon. The Department keeps the application to preserve the date. If an emergency exists that cannot be met without an interview, or if the individual works or has transportation issues, the Public Assistance division will interview that individual in the afternoon. All applicants are seen on a first come first served basis unless they have a medical reason not to be able to wait.

You will need to bring the identification described in the Basic Identification section of this guide as well as proof or verification of:

  • Income - both earned and unearned
  • Resources - bank accounts, vehicles, trust funds, etc.
  • Residence
  • Household Composition
  • Shelter expenses
  • Fuel and/or utility expenses
  • Information about any legally responsible relatives

Go to top of page

Q.   How can I get Public Assistance if I don’t want my parents involved?

If you are under the age of 21 and you are living with your parents you cannot get public assistance unless they also apply.  All of their income and resources would be included in determining the eligibility of the household. 

If you are under the age of 21 and living alone you cannot get public assistance unless you are willing to file a support petition against your parents.  However, if the Department of Social Services’ Child Protective Services verifies that it would not be safe for you to live with or file petitions against your parents, you could receive public assistance and the Department would find you a supportive living situation until you turn 21.

Go to top of page

Q.   I’ve heard that there are certain job-training programs available for people who are TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) eligible. How can I find out more about these programs?

Yes, there are certain TANF funded job training programs available for people who are TANF eligible.  You can find out about the current programs being funded by contacting Dutchess County BOCES, and the New York State Department of Department of Labor. 

Go to top of page

Q.   I can barely afford rent. Is there any place I can go to get help with a security deposit?

You may apply for assistance at the Dutchess County Department of Social Services 60 Market Street Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Your situation will be evaluated and a decision made on your eligibility.

Go to top of page

Q.   How do I get medical and dental care if I don’t have any money?

You can apply for Medicaid, or someone can apply for you on your behalf, at:
    Dutchess County Department of Social Services
    60 Market Street
    Poughkeepsie, NY  12601

Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 – 10:30 AM.

You can also apply at Dutchess County Community Action Partnership. The offices are open 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.  (Closed for lunch from 12 noon to 1:00 PM). An appointment is required. Call (845) 437-0222 to schedule an appointment at a Branch office near you.

POUGHKEEPSIE
84 Cannon Street

RED HOOK
44-46 E. Market Street    

DOVER PLAINS
3414 Route 22       

BEACON
544 Main Street

Go to top of page

Q.   If I am under 21 and have a child, does it change the eligibility for the above (i.e. Medicaid) and what do I need to bring in as proof of eligibility?

No, however, you will have to cooperate in obtaining medical support from the child’s absent parent.  You will need to furnish:

  • Birth Certificate(s)
  • Social Security Card(s)
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Papers
  • Death Certificate
  • Proof of income (4 weeks wages, if employed).  If self employed, last income tax returns and copies of current ledgers
  • Proof of resources (bank book, checking account statements, life insurance policies, stocks, bonds, etc.)
  • Proof of shelter expenses (rent receipt, mortgage statement, fuel bills, electric bills, taxes, water bills, etc.)
  • Proof of health insurance (policy number, amount of premium, insurance carrier, etc.)

For the new (10/02) Family Planning Benefit Program (FPBP), if an individual under 21 years of age does not have access to parental financial information or doesn’t want their parents to know about their application for this program, the Department will determine eligibility based on the child’s income.  The Department of Social Services (60 Market St., Poughkeepsie, NY) will NOT require the applicant to file for Medical Support against her parents.

Go to top of page

Q.   I am a senior citizen and need help paying my medical bills. Who can I call?

The type of financial help available depends on your income and the nature of the bills.  Contact Case Assistance at the Office For The Aging at (845) 486-2555 for information.

Go to top of page

Q.   If I am under 21 am I eligible to receive Medicaid?

Individuals under 21 are eligible to apply for Medicaid.  If they are under 21 and living with their parents, their own income and their parents’ income and resources would also be taken into account.  If they are NOT living with a parent only their own circumstances would be used to determine eligibility.  However, they would be required to file for Medical Support against each parent.

For the new (10/02) Family Planning Benefit Program, (FPBP) if an individual under 21 years of age does not have access to parental financial information or doesn’t want their parents to know about the application for this program, the Department will determine eligibility based on the child’s income.  The Department of Social Services (60 Market St., Poughkeepsie, NY) will NOT require the applicant to file for medical support against his/her parents.

Go to top of page

Q.   If I have no place to stay and need emergency housing, where can I go?

You may apply for assistance at the Dutchess County Department of Social Services 60 Market Street Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Your situation will be evaluated and a decision made on your eligibility.

Go to top of page

Q.   What are the “6 points of ID” I need to be eligible for public assistance?

When you apply for public assistance you will be asked to provide proof or verification of several identification factors. They include:

  • Identity (one form of photo ID if available, otherwise 2 forms of non-photo ID - For example, notarized statements from people who can identify you),
  • age,
  • social security number,
  • citizenship and
  • marital status.

 

Go to top of page

Q.   What measures are taken to prevent food stamp fraud?

USDA is committed to integrity in all of its nutrition assistance programs, and has put special emphasis on the Food Stamp Program because of its size and importance. However, in a program as large as the Food Stamp Program, it may be inevitable that some people will try to cheat the system.

The Department has already taken a number of steps to make it easier to catch and punish people who misuse food stamp benefits. The welfare reform act of 1996 included several provisions, originally proposed by USDA, to more closely scrutinize food retailers who apply for food stamp authorization, and to more closely monitor retailers once they are participating in the program. Retailers who violate program rules can face heavy fines, removal from the program, or jail. Individual food stamp recipients who sell their benefits can also be removed from the program.

One of the most promising developments in the fight against food stamp fraud has been the increasing use of electronic benefit transfer--EBT--to issue food stamp benefits. EBT uses a plastic card similar to a bank debit card to transfer funds from a food stamp benefits account to a retailer's account. With an EBT card, food stamp customers pay for groceries without any paper coupons changing hands. EBT eliminates paper food stamps and creates an electronic record for each transaction that makes fraud easier to detect.

Go to top of page

Q.   How do I know if I am eligible for Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus or Medicaid?

The Medicaid eligibility worker at the Department of Social Services will determine if you are eligible for any Medicaid program including the FPBP.  Be sure to notify your interviewer at Social Services if you need the application to remain confidential and designate an alternate mailing address if you don’t want correspondence to go to your home address.

Go to top of page

Q.   Where can I call for further information about Medicaid benefits?

You can call the Medicaid office at (845) 486-3340.

Go to top of page

Q.   Who can I call to report Social Services fraud?

Call the Department of Social Services Fraud Hotline 1-800-936-3728.

Go to top of page

Q.   I just lost my job/my spouse just left me. What help is available for me and for my family?

Many types of services are available through the Department of Social Services, 60 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New York.  The department also maintains adequate knowledge of community services to act as a referral source.  See the Department of Social Services' annual report, come to our office, or call us at (845) 486-3000 to discuss your needs and services available.

Go to top of page

Q.   I am in need of financial assistance to pay my heating bills. Where can I get information on this?

Contact the Department of Social Services at: 60 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, Voice (845) 486-3000   Fax (845) 486-3090.  After hours, call Community Action at (845) 437-0050.

The Department of Social Services also administers H.E.A.P.- Home Energy Assistance Program- a federally funded seasonal program intended to assist low-income households in meeting their energy expenses.  Call Dutchess County Heap Department  (845) 486-3249 for more information. 

Go to top of page

Q.   What do I need to bring with me in order to apply for benefits/services available through the Department of Social Services?

The following information is required: verification of identity, date of birth, marital status, citizenship/alien status, social security number, residence, shelter, income and resources.  Please call the department at (845) 486-3000 so that they can help you to determine what documents to bring.

Go to top of page

Q.   How can I get help to obtain child support from my child's father (or mother)?

The goal of the Child Support Enforcement Unit of the Department of Social Services is to ensure that legally responsible persons, to the best of their ability, contribute toward the support of their children.  Call the customer service helpline at (888) 208-4485 or visit www.newyorkchildsupport.com

Go to top of page

Q.   If I’m under age 21 and have children of my own, does it change the eligibility for TANF, Emergency Assistance, Emergency Housing or Medicaid?

You would be eligible for TANF funds rather than Safety Net funds. Otherwise, the same eligibility criteria apply. You would also be expected to file a support petition against the father of each of your children.

Go to top of page

Q.   I’ve heard that if an adult takes me (a minor) in, they might be able to get some financial assistance through the Department of Social Services. Is that true? If so, how would they get it?

It may be true, depending on the situation. They or you would need to come in and file an application at the Department of Social Services, 60 Market St., Poughkeepsie, NY.

Go to top of page

Q.   Who is the Food Stamp Program for?

Households must meet eligibility requirements and provide information – and verification -- about their household circumstances. U.S. citizens and some aliens who are admitted for permanent residency may qualify. The welfare reform act of 1996 ended eligibility for many legal immigrants, though Congress later restored benefits to many children and elderly immigrants, as well as some specific groups. The welfare reform act also placed time limits on benefits for unemployed, able-bodied, childless adults.

Local food stamp offices can provide information about eligibility, and USDA operates a toll-free number (800-221-5689) for people to receive information about the Food Stamp Program. Most states also have a toll free information/hotline number.

To participate in the Food Stamp Program:

  • Households may have no more than $2,000 in countable resources, such as a bank account ($3,000 if at least one person in the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled). Certain resources are not counted, such as a home and lot. Special rules are used to determine the resource value of vehicles owned by household members.
  • The gross monthly income of most households must be 130 percent or less of the Federal poverty guidelines ($1,698 per month for a family of three in most places, effective Oct. 1, 2004 through Sept. 30, 2005). Gross income includes all cash payments to the household, with a few exceptions specified in the law or the program regulations.
  • Net monthly income must be 100 percent or less of Federal poverty guidelines ($1,306 per month for a household of three in most places, effective Oct. 1, 2004 through Sept. 30, 2005). Net income is figured by adding all of a household's gross income, and then taking a number of approved deductions for child care, some shelter costs and other expenses. Households with an elderly or disabled member are subject only to the net income test.
  • Most able-bodied adult applicants must meet certain work requirements.
  • All household members must provide a Social Security number or apply for one.

Federal poverty guidelines are established by the Office of Management and Budget, and are updated annually by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Go to top of page

Q.   If I’m under age 21 am I eligible to receive TANF, Emergency Assistance, Emergency Housing or Medicaid? How would I apply and what would I need to bring?

You may be eligible for TANF or Emergency Assistance. If you are under 21 and your parents are unwilling to allow you to return home and they are unable or unwilling to support while you are living on your own, the Social Services Department would require you to file a support petition against. both parents as an eligibility requirement. If your parents have been abusive in the past or you fear abuse currently, the Department’s Public Assistance unit would make a referral to Children's Services to assess your situation. If Children’s Services agrees that it would be unsafe for you to return home or file support petitions, the Department would help you locate a supportive living situation, an adult willing to take you in and provide the support needed until you are 21. You would not be eligible for TANF funds unless you were under 19 or you had a child of your own. You would however, be eligible for Safety Net assistance.

Emergency housing is available to anyone who is homeless. The Department would explore all family and community resources before placing anyone in a homeless shelter.

You would be eligible for Medicaid, but the same rules apply for filing support petitions against your parents.

Go to top of page

Q.   Is there a website that I can go to for more specific Medicaid eligibility information?

You can find more specific eligibility information at the State Department of Health's (SDOH) website: http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/.

Go to top of page

Q.   What do I do if I can't go to the Department of Social Services myself to apply for benefits?

You can give someone written permission to apply for you.  You may also be able to go to a clinic to apply, if you are pregnant, or, you can schedule an appointment with Dutchess County Community Action at (845) 452-5104.

Go to top of page

Q.   What is the Food Stamp Program for?

The Food Stamp Program helped put food on the table for some 10.3 million households and 23.9 million individuals each day in Fiscal Year 2004. It provides low-income households with coupons or electronic benefits they can use like cash at most grocery stores to ensure that they have access to a healthy diet. The Food Stamp Program is the cornerstone of the Federal food assistance programs, and provides crucial support to needy households and to those making the transition from welfare to work. It provided an average of $2.1 billion a month in benefits in Fiscal Year 2004.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers the Food Stamp Program at the Federal level through its Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). State agencies administer the program at State and local levels, including determination of eligibility and allotments, and distribution of benefits.

Go to top of page

Q.   Where can a senior citizen get help paying heating costs?

The type of assistance available depends on your income.  The Dutchess County Office For The Aging offers a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funded through the New York State and Dutchess County Department of Social Services. Call the Dutchess County Office For The Aging at (845) 486-2555.  The toll free number is (866) 486-2555.

Go to top of page

Q.   If I stay in foster care and I am accepted into college, how will I pay for my education?

Foster children who are attending college generally pay for their education through government financial aid programs, education loans and scholarships.  The Foster Care unit at Dutchess County Department of Social Services cannot pay for college tuition.  However, case managers and foster parents can help you explore the options available to fund your education, and every college has a financial aid office whose staff can be a resource to explore options for payment.  For youth who plan to attend college and live on campus, the Department of Social Services can pay room and board to the college, up to the dollar amount a foster parent would get.

Go to top of page

Q.   If I leave foster care am I eligible for Medicaid, financial support, or any other help?

When you leave foster care, you are eligible for Medicaid for 12 months after the last time your Medicaid case was re-certified.  Your foster care case manager can tell you the date your Medicaid will expire, and also inform you of other options for medical coverage such as Child Health Plus or Family Health Plus.  On going assistance with Medicaid, financial support through Public Assistance, Food Stamps or HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) is based on income eligibility.  This means that your income must be below certain dollar amounts to qualify.  To find out if you qualify and to obtain assistance, you must fill out a Department of Social Services application form and come into the office for an interview.  Applications are available at the Dutchess County Department of Social Services, 60 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, and phone # (845) 486-3000.

Go to top of page

Q.   What if I’m not literally homeless, but I’m not living in a good situation or if things are so bad at home that it feels like there could be a major blow up at any minute. As a minor, is there any place I can go?

Stay with a friend temporarily and attempt counseling. Resources available to you depends on your age.  Call the Department of Social Services at (845) 486-3000 to discuss your needs.

Go to top of page

Q.   How old do you have to be to get help from Adult Protective Services? What kind of help do they provide? How does one apply for such help?

Adult Protective Services offers assistance to people 18 years of age and older.  There are three criteria for getting assistance; the adult must have a physical or mental impairment, must have at least one or more un-met need and have no one else available to responsibly assist them in meeting the need.

Adult Protective Services offers many types of assistance including case management and advocacy services, financial management and help with housing issues.

To make a referral for Adult Protective Services, a call should be made to the Department of Social Services in the county in which the client resides.  In Dutchess County the number to call is (845) 486-3300. After a referral is accepted, an assessment is completed to determine whether the client meets the eligibility criteria and requires on going assistance.  Assistance may be given during the assessment period to resolve the presenting problem(s) or to connect the client to other appropriate services in the community.  At the conclusion of the assessment period, which can take up to 60 days, the case will either be closed or opened for on going case management and advocacy services.

Go to top of page

Q.   Do I have to use all my Food Stamp benefits up in the month that I receive them, or will they be carried over into the next month?

Any benefits that you have remaining in your Food Stamp EBT account at the end of the month WILL be carried over into the next month.

However, if you have not used your EBT card at all for one year, the State will begin the process of permanently removing your food stamp benefits from your EBT account. There are also some States that will begin permanently removing your benefits after 9 months of inactivity to your account. Please refer to the State training materials you received at certification to find out if your State permanently removes benefits after 9 months or after one year.

Go to top of page

Q.   What keeps unqualified people from getting food stamps?

As part of the commitment to program integrity, USDA works closely with the States to ensure that they issue their benefits correctly. State workers carefully evaluate each application to determine eligibility and the appropriate level of benefits. USDA monitors the accuracy of eligibility and benefit determinations. States that fail to meet standards for issuing their food stamp benefits correctly can be sanctioned by USDA, and those that exceed the standard for payment accuracy can be eligible for additional funding support. People who receive food stamp benefits in error must repay any benefits for which they did not qualify.

Go to top of page

Q.   What services are available at the Department of Social Services?

This is a question that is not easily answered.  Please see our annual report on our web site, come to our office at 60 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New York, or call us at (845) 486-3000 to discuss your needs and services available. 

Go to top of page

Q.   Are there funds available for infrastructure, handicapped accessibility or human service program services?

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program application cycle is annual for municipalities and human service agencies.  For more information contact: (845) 486-3600.

Go to top of page

Q.   I am a senior citizen and need help paying my medical bills. Who can I call?

The type of financial help available depends on your income and the nature of the bills.  Contact Case Assistance at the Office For The Aging at (845) 486-2555 for information.

Go to top of page

Q.   How is each household's food stamp allotment determined?

Eligible households are issued a monthly allotment of food stamps based on the Thrifty Food Plan, a low-cost model diet plan. The TFP is based on National Academy of Sciences’ Recommended Dietary Allowances, and on food choices of low-income households.

An individual household's food stamp allotment is equal to the maximum allotment for that household's size, less 30 percent of the household's net income. Households with no countable income receive the maximum allotment ($393 per month in Fiscal Year 2005 for a household of three people). Allotment levels are higher for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, reflecting higher food prices in those areas.

Go to top of page

Q.   What do I do if my EBT card is lost or stolen?

If your EBT card is lost or stolen, you should report it IMMEDIATELY by calling your State’s toll-free customer service number. A new card will be reissued to you within 2-5 days.

Go to top of page

Q.   How can I find out if I might be eligible for food stamps?

Our pre-screening tool will tell you whether you might be eligible for food stamps, and how much you might be eligible to receive, so you can see whether it would be worth your while to go to the local food stamp office and apply.

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website provides detailed information about the Food Stamp (FS) Program.
    

Go to top of page

Q.   If I am under 21 and not living with my parent/guardian can I be considered TANF eligible? Must I have children of my own to be TANF eligible?

If you are under 21, not living with your parents/guardian and have no children of your own you are not eligible for TANF funded services.

Go to top of page

Q.   Is there any place that can help me if I’m about to be evicted for non-payment of rent?

You may apply for assistance at the Dutchess County Department of Social Services 60 Market Street Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Each situation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Go to top of page

Q.   Where can I apply for Social Services benefits and services?

The Department of Social Services is located at 60 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, New York.  Doors open at 8:30 A.M. and applications are accepted on a first come first served basis.  (There are some exceptions due to emergencies and staff size.)   The department DOES NOT schedule appointments.

Go to top of page

Q.   My family has fallen on hard times and needs help. Is there a number I can call to get assistance in meeting our everyday needs?

2-1-1 is a free and confidential helpline number that easily links people to the services they need. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, people can call about everything from basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, to volunteer opportunities, legal services, drug treatment, employment support, childcare, eldercare and more.  Click on the following link for more information: http://www.hudson211.org/cms/.

Go to top of page

 

Accessibility

 

Listen button image Listen to webpage

 

Increase and decrease text size Change text size