Benefits for Low-income Households in the State of New York

New York low-income benefits are meant to only provide temporary assistance.
New York low-income benefits are meant to only provide temporary assistance. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Low-income residents of the state of New York may qualify for rental assistance, energy assistance, free legal assistance and short-term cash benefits. Most low-income assistance programs are funded by the federal government and administered by the state of New York. You must meet eligibility requirements, which are widely based on your household’s income.

Home Energy Assistance Program

The New York Home Energy Assistance Program, HEAP, provides energy assistance to low-income residents living in the state of New York. HEAP has three components: regular benefits, emergency benefits and a heating equipment replacement program. Regular benefits are available to eligible low-income households that need help paying their energy bills. Regular benefits are usually one-time payments sent directly to energy providers. Emergency benefits are available to low-income households that are experiencing a disconnection in heating services. The equipment replacement program provides repair or replacement of heating equipment, such as boilers, furnaces and other direct heating devices.

Temporary Assistance

The New York Temporary Assistance program, funded by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF, program, provides monthly financial benefits and emergency cash assistance to low-income residents in the state of New York through the Family Assistance, FA, program and the Safety Net Assistance, SNA, program. If eligible, you are able to get help through FA up to 60 months in a lifetime. Individuals not eligible for assistance through FA may qualify for help through SNA, which provides help to single adults, couples without children, children not living at home, families with a household member on drugs and individuals who have exceed assistance in the FA program. Typically, cash benefits through SNA last up to two years in a lifetime.

New York Legal Assistance Group

Low-income New York state residents may qualify to receive free legal services from the New York Legal Assistance Group, NYLAG. Many of the attorneys employed by NYLAG work pro bono and many of the supporting staff are volunteers. Some of the clients benefiting from NYLAG services include seniors, immigrants, domestic violence victims, disabled persons and at-risk youth. NYLAG offers general legal services, marriage and family law services, immigration protection, medical and health services and domestic violence protection services. If you need legal assistance, you can call NYLAG to schedule an initial phone consultation, after which a case handler is assigned to you.


The New York Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, provides rental assistance to eligible low-income New York state residents. HUD offers housing vouchers -- Section 8 -- that are used to pay rent on a monthly basis. You must select a HUD approved housing unit and payments are made directly to your landlord. You are responsible for paying any remaining portion of your rent that is not covered by HUD. New York City offers the Homeless Prevention Fund, which provides financial assistance to households with annual incomes ranging $15,000 to $20,000. To qualify for assistance, your landlord must have filed an eviction and you must have the ability to pay your rent in the future.

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