This is information on applying for and keeping cash assistance (also known as welfare or public assistance or “PA” or cash assistance or “CA”), Medicaid, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly food stamps). These benefits are available through HRA to persons who are eligible. This page includes is information about steps you can take on your own, and what to do if you need help from The Legal Aid Society.
*You can once again go to an HRA Job Center in person to apply for benefits. But you can also apply online, via mail, or fax instead. In certain circumstances, you can also apply over the phone or request an in-person visit. Learn more about your options here.
If you need help applying for HRA benefits or with a cash assistance/welfare or SNAP case, including a fair hearing, call The Legal Aid Society’s Access to Benefits helpline 888-663-6880 on Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
There are four ways to apply for cash assistance and/or SNAP/Food Stamps:
Requests for help with emergencies are supposed to happen right away. Requests to open a case take longer. HRA must respond to your application in writing within 30 days if you are applying for:
HRA must respond to your application in writing within 45 days for cash assistance if you have no child under age 18 living with you (and in some cases even if a child is living with you).
You can request a “fair hearing” if:
At the hearing, a judge will hear the case and decide if HRA made a mistake.
You can request a fair hearing in 5 ways:
Can I go in person to 14 Boerum Place and Request a hearing?
No. Not right now. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, that office is currently closed to the public. You cannot not go in person to 14 Boerum Place, 1st Floor, Brooklyn (corner of Boerum and Livingston Streets).
When you should request the fair hearing?
Request a Fair Hearing right away! You can request a fair hearing as soon as you receive a notice of decision that you disagree with, or if your benefits or services are changed without notice.
You must request a fair hearing within 60 days of the date of the notice for public assistance and Medicaid issues, and 90 days for SNAP (Food Stamp) issues. Even if you think you missed the deadline, you can still make the request.
If you request the hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice, you can get “aid continuing.” “Aid continuing” means your benefits should continue unchanged until the hearing decision is made.
Because of COVID-19, most hearings are only being held by telephone, not in person. You have the right to decline a telephone hearing and ask that it be rescheduled in person at a future date.
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 11 May 2022
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