SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY (February 23, 2015) – Sullivan County’s Division of Health & Family Services have issued this press release to educate residents of the benefits offered through the Department of Family Services.
The press release states: “The County of Sullivan is committed to our residents and will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure that they are treated fairly through the application process. The County Manager along with the Acting Commissioner have begun to implement processes to simplify the procedures taken when applying for benefits and will continue to make strides toward processing applications in a more timely manner.
“Sullivan County Department of Family Services offers benefits to residents in need of help, including home energy costs, housing, food, medical services, child support, as well as preventative services for vulnerable children and adults.”
Benefit details are as follows:
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP):
The HEAP program is designed to offset fuel and utility costs for eligible families or individuals. HEAP funds are usually available mid-November until mid-April, but may end sooner if funds are depleted. The amount of this benefit is based on the type of household, income for the household and the type of fuel or utility.
For eligibility guidelines and application information go to: http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/
Emergency Financial Assistance (EA):
These programs are available to assist those who meet eligibility criteria for immediate unforeseen emergency needs. An emergency is an urgent need or situation that has to be taken care of right away.
Some examples of an emergency are:
•You are homeless
•You have little or no food
•Your landlord has told you that you must move or has given you eviction papers
•You do not have fuel for heating in the cold weather period
•Your utilities are shut-off or are about to be shut-off, or you have a 72-hour disconnect notice
•You or someone in your family has been beaten, abused or threatened with violence by a husband, wife, partner or other member of the household
Applicants may be eligible for emergency assistance even though they might not be eligible for on-going assistance. Applications are taken Monday through Friday with proof of the emergency, at the Department of Family Services, Sunset Lake Road, Liberty, NY.
The Department must comply with the program regulations when evaluating the emergency that is reported to create the need for a request for financial assistance.
Food Stamp Program:
This is a supplemental food program to help stretch the family food budget when purchasing groceries. Only non-taxable food items are allowed for purchase by this program.
Benefits are now accessed via a debit card which is used to purchase approved food. It is accepted at most grocery stores. Benefits are available to most people receiving Temporary Assistance, as well as others with low income. The Food Stamp program is operated under regulations set by the US Department of Agriculture and is 100% federally funded.
You can now go to www.MyBenefits.ny.gov and use the Food Stamp Calculator to determine if you are eligible for Food Stamps.
For a food stamps application please phone (845) 292-0100 or download an application at http://co.sullivan.ny.us/Departments/DepartmentsAM/HealthandFamilyServices/FamilyServicesPrograms/TemporaryAssistancePrograms/FoodStampProgram/tabid/3161/Default.aspx
In efforts to remove barriers to independence, Temporary Assistance provides programs for needy men, women and children. If you are unable to work, can’t find a job or your job does not pay enough for food, or a place to live; you may be able to apply for help to pay your expenses. There are several different programs, each of which, have specific program requirements and eligibility standards.
•Child Care Subsidy Program
•Food Stamp Program
•Home Energy Assistance
•Supervised Family Assistance
How do I apply for Temporary Assistance programs?
You must apply in Sullivan County, at the Department of Family Services, Sunset Lake Road, Liberty, NY. Phone: 845-292-0100
The Housing Unit is designed to assure safe and adequate housing for family recipients of Temporary Assistance and Foster Care. Apartments and homes are visited and inspected to ensure building code violations do not exist.
Sullivan County inspects homes prior to issuing family shelter assistance, before certifying foster homes (and annually thereafter) or in conjunction with child protective cases. Foster Home inspection regulations must be met, in addition to building code regulations, for approved licensing.
Medical Assistance Unit:
The Medical Assistance Unit is responsible for determining the eligibility for Medicaid and Family Health Plus programs. These programs are designed to provide necessary medical, dental and optical care to families who may not otherwise be able to obtain these services. This program is based on need. There are various eligibility requirements for specialized groups such as pregnant women, children under age nineteen and the aged. Within this unit there are several specialized programs:
•Nursing Home (Chronic Care)
•Disabled Client Assistance Program
•Family Health Plus
•Medicare Savings Programs
•Managed Care Medicaid Program
•Aid to the Disabled
•Buy-In for the Working Disabled
Supervised Family Assistance (A.S.A.):
The Accountability for Sanctioned Adults program is for recommended recipients who are facing drug and alcohol, employment or child support sanctions which cause partial benefit reduction. This program is a joint effort of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Child Support Enforcement and Special Investigation units of the Department. These specialists help monitor expenditures as to how the recipient is spending the cash grant for their family.
Staff meets with the adults and they facilitate discussions on how the family can begin to be compliant with the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance regulations and possibly even reach self-sufficiency goals. If it is determined that there is a disabled adult in the family, this team will make appropriate referrals for the individual and provide temporary oversight on the progress. The program serves to protect the best interest of the children in each family.
Child Care Subsidy Program:
These three programs assist income-eligible parents with child care costs:
•Transitional Child Care is a support subsidy for those leaving Temporary Assistance due to new employment or increased income. The recipient receives a day care subsidy allowance per child in daycare (regardless of income) for a period of twelve months.
•Child Care & Development Block Grant Program provides child care subsidies for the working poor whose income is up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
•Title XX provides childcare for ill or incapacitated parents whose income is between 225% and 275% of the Federal poverty level.
These programs are reimbursed by the state and federal government to the county at 100% and make childcare subsidies available not only for employment-related reasons, but also for child protection purposes. These programs pay up to the fair market daycare rate for Sullivan County per child (for day care provided by a registered day care provider or informal daycare provider.)
Each program has an individual that represents the agency at Administrative Hearings requested by applicants or recipients to appeal determinations made by the agency. Hearings are held at the local district office before an administrative law judge who represents the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Family Services in Albany. The unit attempts to settle issues prior to the hearing process. Family Services attorneys work in conjunction with DFS staff at some hearings related to Temporary Assistance, Child Protection, Foster Care and Medicaid.
If you wish to have your decision reviewed, please contact a program supervisor before requesting a fair hearing. For additional information go to: http://otda.ny.gov/oah/
For more information about any of these or additional services/programs offered through the Sullivan County Department of Family Services at (845) 292-0100 or at their location Sunset Lake Road, Liberty, NY.