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Suffolk County Social Services

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Suffolk County Department of Social Services assists vulnerable American families through various welfare programs such as health care, cash assistance, and emergency housing. 

Read on to learn more about what benefits are available, who is eligible, and how to apply. 

What Is the Suffolk County Department of Social Services? 


The Suffolk County Department of Social Services (DSS) works together with the State of New York and the federal government to offer publicly funded welfare programs to people in need. 


The DSS programs are designed to meet the basic needs of eligible residents, at the same time encouraging their independence and self-sufficiency. 

What Services Does the Suffolk County Department of Social Services Provide?


Some of the services provided by Suffolk County Department of Social Services are:


Medicaid


Medicaid is a government medical assistance program that provides health coverage for low-income and uninsured individuals and families. 


Medicaid offers free or low-cost medical care for:


  • Physician consultations
  • Medications
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • Home health care
  • Early and periodic screening of children
  • Emergency care
  • Dental care
  • Nursing care

Medicaid transportation benefit


Suffolk County Department of Social Services provides free transportation for eligible Medicaid beneficiaries. If you need health care but have no means of transportation, you can apply for assistance to get to the hospital or to your doctor’s appointment. 

Who is eligible for Medicaid?


Medicaid qualifications are based on income, family size, disability, and several other factors. Because the state of New York has expanded Medicaid coverage, you can also qualify based on your income alone. 

What is the income limit to qualify for Medicaid?


The annual income limit to qualify for Medicaid in 2020 is $17,609 for individuals and 

$23,792 for couples. 


For people who are blind, disabled, or over 65 years old, the income limit is $10,500 for individuals and $15,400 for families. 

Can I still qualify if my income exceeds the Medicaid limit? 


Some people who have medical bills may be eligible if their income is higher than the Medicaid level. This applies to: 


  • People above the age of 65
  • Pregnant women
  • Children
  • Parents of minors
  • Blind and disabled individuals

Does Social Security count as income for Medicaid?


Social Security benefits don’t count as a household income when evaluating eligibility for Medicaid benefits. If you live in the state of New York and receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you automatically qualify for Medicaid. 

How much money can I have and still get Medicaid?


In the state of New York, a single applicant can have $15,750 and couples $22,200 in liquid assets and still get Medicaid. Liquid assets include cash, stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit. 

There are some exemptions from the asset limit such as a primary residence, a car that meets certain criteria, household items, marital jewelry, and burial funds. 

How do I apply for Medicaid in Suffolk County?


By phone

Suffolk County DSS Medicaid: (631) 853-8714

Medicaid Transportation: (844) 678-1103


In person 

Smithtown Center

Suffolk County DSS

200 Wireless Boulevard

Hauppauge, NY 11788 


Online

Medicaid application form for Suffolk County residents

More information


Suffolk County DSS - Medicaid


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal nutrition program formerly known as the Food Stamps Program.

SNAP provides people in need with money to purchase food at grocery stores, convenience stores, some farmers' markets, and Co-op food programs.

You can use SNAP to buy:

  • Bread and cereals
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meats, fish, and poultry
  • Dairy products

You can’t use SNAP to buy: 

  • Beer, wine, and liquor
  • Cigarettes and tobacco
  • Pet food
  • Household supplies
  • Medicine
  • Hot foods

How much is the SNAP allowance?

The maximum SNAP allowance in New York is $194 for an individual and $355 for a couple.

Is EBT the same as SNAP?

Each month, you will receive your SNAP benefits on a plastic card called an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. An EBT card looks and works just like any debit card. It is more discreet than paper coupons that are no longer used.

In the state of New York, the EBT is known as the Common Benefit Identification Card (CBIC).

How fast can I receive SNAP benefits after applying? 


You will normally receive your benefits within 30 days after applying for SNAP. 


If you have an emergency, you can apply for Expedited Food Stamps. In this case, you will receive the money within 7 days. However, you will still have to complete the application and provide all the required documentation at a later date.

Who is eligible for SNAP?


Whether you are eligible for SNAP depends on your income and family size. 

The income limit for a single person is $1,354 and for a couple $1,832 in monthly gross income. This is everything you earn in one month, before taxes and deductions. This income limit includes cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, child support, and other benefits.

Assets such as stocks, savings, and retirement accounts are not taken into consideration when determining eligibility for SNAP.

Can I get SNAP benefits while on unemployment?


The federal government has suspended the three-month time limit on receiving SNAP benefits for unemployed adults without dependent children. Currently, you may qualify for SNAP to help cover the cost of food for yourself and your family if you are unemployed. 

How do I apply for SNAP in Suffolk County?


By phone 


Suffolk County DSS: (631) 854-9935


In person


Smithtown Center

Suffolk County DSS

200 Wireless Boulevard

Hauppauge, NY 11788 


Online


SNAP application form for Suffolk County residents

SNAP common application form when applying for other benefits such as Medicaid or temporary assistance along with SNAP


More information


Suffolk County DSS - SNAP

Child Care Assistance 

Suffolk County Department of Social Services supports low-income families by covering parts or all of their child care costs. 

In most cases, if you are receiving a child care subsidy, you are free to choose any legal child care provider. A case manager can also help you select a high-quality, affordable child care provider in your area. 

Who is eligible for child care assistance? 

Child care assistance is available for children between 6 weeks and 12 years old. Children with special needs can receive care until the age of 18.


To apply for child care assistance, your family's income must be below 200% of the income standard for a family of your size in New York State. The income standard for 2020 is $4,040 per month for a family of four. 


You also need to show that you have a valid need for child care. This may be employment, an approved educational or training program, or being a teen parent who is attending high school. You are guaranteed child care assistance if you are on cash assistance and need child care in order to meet work participation requirements.

How do I apply for child care assistance in Suffolk County?

By phone

Division of Child Care Services Long Island Regional Office: (631) 240-2560

Suffolk County Child Care Council: (631) 462-0303 for help with selecting and locating child care services 

In person

FCSA - Child Care Unit

Suffolk County DSS

Smithtown Center

200 Wireless Boulevard

Hauppauge, NY 11788

Online

Child care assistance application form for Suffolk County residents

More information

Suffolk County Department of Social Services - Child Services

Fostering


Fostering offers a safe family to children who are unable to live with their biological families due to abuse, neglect, mental health issues, or family breakdown. 


Unlike adoption, fostering is a temporary arrangement. A child may stay in foster care only a few days or as long as it takes to find a permanent solution.

How much can I receive in fostering allowance?


As a foster parent, you will receive an allowance to cover the cost of caring for a child. Licensed foster parents in Suffolk County receive anywhere between $625 and $855 per month depending on the age of the child. 

Who can foster a child in Suffolk County?


To be eligible to foster a child in Suffolk County, you need to meet the following requirements: 


  • You must be over the age of 21.
  • All of your household members must be in good physical and mental health.
  • You must have a home with sufficient bedrooms for a foster child.
  • You must agree to have a home study done by a caseworker from the Suffolk County Child Placement Bureau. The caseworker will verify that you are able to meet the child’s health and safety needs. 
  • You have to complete a 30-hour pre-certification training program called MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting).
  • You need to attend 4-6 hours of additional training every year.

Can I foster a child if I have bad credit?


Past financial problems should not prevent you from fostering a child. However, you will need to show that you are financially secure enough to take care of a child and that you are able to manage fostering allowances. 

Can I foster a child if I have a felony?


Applicants whose criminal records check reveals a felony conviction for child abuse, spousal abuse, domestic battery, drug-related offense, or violent crime are automatically disqualified as foster parents. 


In all other cases, factors such as the type of felony, how long ago it occurred, and the applicant's age at the time of the crime are considered in a decision on whether someone is allowed to foster a child. 

How do I apply for fostering a child?


By phone


Suffolk County DSS Child Care Unit: (631) 854-3349 

Suffolk County Child Placement Bureau: (631) 853 - KIDS 


More information


Suffolk County DSS - Foster Care

New York State Office of Children and Family Services 

Temporary Assistance (Cash Assistance)


Temporary assistance is cash assistance for people who are not able to work or find a job and individuals who don’t earn enough to pay for their basic needs. This is short-term help available while you are looking for work, participating in training, or receiving disability benefits. 


Temporary assistance consists of two programs: Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance. 

Family Assistance (FA)


The family assistance program provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women. You can use the family cash assistance to pay for food, shelter, and utilities. However, you are not allowed to use this money for medical expenses.


Family assistance benefits are limited for a total of 60 months (5 years) which don’t need to be consecutive. Once you’ve reached this limit, your case will be transferred to the safety net assistance program. Your benefits will stay the same.

Safety Net Assistance (SNA)

Safety net assistance is cash assistance for individuals and families who are not eligible for family assistance. This group includes: 

  • Single adults
  • Couples without children
  • Children living apart from adult relatives
  • Families of persons abusing drugs or alcohol.

You can receive SNA for a maximum of two years. After that, your benefits will be provided in a non-cash form. This means that payments will be made directly to your landlord or utility company. 

How much cash assistance can I get?


The maximum cash assistance benefit is $735 per month for an individual and $1,103 for couples. 

Who is eligible for temporary cash assistance?


Eligibility for temporary cash assistance is based on income and family size. In most cases, you must be working or participating in approved work activities in order to be eligible for this benefit.


If you are receiving temporary cash assistance, you can also apply for other benefits like Medicaid or SNAP. 

What is emergency assistance?


Emergency assistance is intended to meet urgent needs like homelessness, overdue rent, pending eviction, and having little or no food. To receive emergency assistance, you don’t have to be eligible for temporary assistance.


If you are applying for emergency assistance, you will have an interview and receive a reply the same day. 

How do I apply for cash assistance in Suffolk County?


By phone


New York State Temporary Assistance hotline: (800) 342-3009


In person


South West Center

Suffolk County DSS

2 South 2nd Street

Deer Park, NY 11729


Smithtown Center

Suffolk County DSS

200 Wireless Blvd

Hauppauge, NY 11788


Online


Temporary Assistance application form 

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)


Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a government program that helps low-income families to cover heating costs for their homes. If needed, the program can also assist with heating equipment repairs and the provision of cooling equipment. 

Emergency HEAP benefits are available if you are in danger of running out of fuel or having your utility service shut off. 

HEAP benefits can only be obtained during the period defined as “HEAP season”. You can receive one regular HEAP benefit per year. 

Who is eligible for HEAP?

Eligibility for HEAP depends on your income, household size, primary heating source, and whether any of your household members are under the age of 6,over the age of 60, or permanently disabled.

Your maximum gross monthly income should not exceed $2,391 for an individual and $3,127 for a couple. You can qualify for HEAP if you receive SNAP, cash assistance, or Code A Supplemental Security Income. 

How do I apply for HEAP in Suffolk County?


By fax


(631) 853-8969 or 853-8822 for submitting the completed application


In person


Coram Center

Suffolk county DSS

80 Middle Country Road

Coram, NY 11727


South West Center

Suffolk county DSS

2 South 2nd Street

Deer Park, NY 11729


Smithtown Center

Suffolk county DSS

200 Wireless Blvd

Hauppauge, NY 11788


Riverhead Center

Suffolk county DSS

893 East Main Street

Riverhead, NY 11901


Online


New York State myBenefits application form


More information 


Suffolk County DSS - HEAP

New York State HEAP information 

Emergency Housing

Suffolk County Department of Social Services offers emergency housing to people who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. An emergency services unit worker assesses the individual’s needs and provides a referral for an emergency housing placement.

Suffolk County DSS has emergency shelters in Coram, Riverhead, Smithtown, and Southwest centers.

How do I apply for emergency housing?

By phone

Suffolk County DSS: (631) 854-9517

Emergency Services Unit: (631) 845-9100 (evenings, weekends, and holidays)


In person

Smithtown Center

200 Wireless Boulevard

Hauppauge, NY 11788


Coram Center

80 Middle Country Road

Coram, NY 11727


Riverhead Center

893 East Main Street

Riverhead, NY 11901


Southwest Center

2 South Second Street

Deer Park, NY 11729


In the evenings, during weekends and holidays, people who need a shelter can go directly to their nearest hospital emergency room to seek refuge.

Suffolk County Department of Social Services Office Locations 


Smithtown Center

200 Wireless Boulevard

Hauppauge, NY 11788

Phone: (631) 853-8825


Coram Center

80 Middle Country Road

Coram, NY 11727

Phone: (631) 854-2300


Riverhead Center

893 East Main Street

Riverhead, NY 11901

Phone: (631) 852-3500


Southwest Center

2 South Second Street

Deer Park, NY 11729

Phone: (631) 854-6600


MacArthur Center

MacArthur Building

3085 Veterans Memorial Highway

Ronkonkoma, NY 11779 

Phone: (631) 854-9930





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