Legal Aid Society

Government Benefits

We provide assistance in getting, keeping, and using government benefits and public assistance such as SNAP (food stamps), SSI, SSDI, Medicaid, Medicare and other health insurances.

How To Get Help

Call our Access to Benefits helpline at 888-663-6880 Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Important Things To Know

EBT card not working? OTDA is reporting ongoing issues. Call 888-328-6399 for assistance.

Learn More

What you need to know about New York State's 2023 Medicaid expansion.

Learn More

Apply now to replace SNAP/Cash Assistance benefits stolen through electronic skimming.

Learn More

Terms You Might Hear

The justice system can be overwhelming. Get familiar with some legal terms and acronyms you might hear like appeal, adjournment, petition, jurisdiction, deposition, and affidavit.

  • Attorney – A person admitted to practice law and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients.
  • Beneficiary – Generally, a beneficiary is a person or entity who receives a profit, advantage, or benefit. For example, a person named to receive something in a will is a beneficiary under such will. Or refers to alien who has as a petitioner formally filing on their behalf to receive immigration benefits.
  • Discovery – The efforts to get information about the other party's contentions before trial. The range of information which each party must exchange in discovery is broad, because all parties should go to trial with as much information and knowledge about the lawsuit as possible.
  • Evidence – A form of proof or probative matter legally presented at the trial of an issue by the acts of the parties and through witnesses, records, documents, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or the jury.
  • Lien – A claim on specific property for payment of a debt.
  • Managed Care Plan – Managed care plans are a type of health insurance. They have contracts with health care providers and medical facilities to provide care for members at reduced costs.
  • Medicaid – A health insurance program for low-income and individuals with disabilities. Jointly paid for by the federal and state government.
  • Medicare – A federal health insurance program for people over 65, receiving Social Security Disability, or with end-stage renal disease.
  • Notice of Hearing – Notice of hearing is a prepared legal document that invokes the parties to hear a motion. It can be filed by either party and specifies the name of the judge, the time of the hearing, and the name of the courthouse.
  • Overpayment – The action of paying someone too much or an amount paid that is too much.
  • Party – Person having a direct interest in a legal matter, transaction or proceeding.
  • Proceeding – A type of lawsuit. For example: In Housing Court, a nonpayment proceeding seeks past-due rent; a holdover proceeding seeks possession of the premises.
  • Representative Payee – A representative payee is a person or an organization. The Social Security Administration appoints a payee to receive Social Security or SSI benefits for anyone who can’t manage or direct the management of their benefits.
  • Social Security – A federal program that provides income, health insurance, and other benefits.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – A federal income supplement program designed to assist aged, blind, and disabled people with little to no income and to provide cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
  • TPS – Temporary Protective Status. Offers temporary legal status to certain immigrants in the United States who cannot return to their home country due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary reasons.
  • Waive – To voluntarily give up a right. Examples include not enforcing the terms of a contract, or knowingly giving up a legal right such as a speedy trial.