What is the Safety Net Assistance Program?
Safety Net Assistance (SNA) is one of the two time-limited cash assistance programs in New York. The other is Family Assistance (FA).
SNA provides both cash and non-cash assistance to eligible individuals and families who are either not receiving any cash benefits through Family Assistance (FA) or have exceeded the 60-month time limit on FA.
Recipients receive a monthly shelter allowance, basic grant allowance, utility assistance and in some cases, a personal needs allowance.1
Like FA, recipients of SNA who aren’t exempt must comply with work requirements to receive SNA benefits.
Who qualifies for Safety Net Assistance in New York?
Eligibility for SNA is limited to:
- Single adults
- Childless couples
- Children living apart from any adult relative
- Families of persons found to be abusing drugs or alcohol
- Families of persons refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment or treatment
- Aliens who are eligible for temporary assistance, but who are not eligible for federal reimbursement
For most recipients, cash benefits are limited to 24 months, including any cash benefits previously paid through Family Assistance.
Anything beyond the two-year limit will be in non-cash form, such as a payment made directly to your landlord or voucher sent directly to your utility company.
There is no time-limit on non-cash benefits.
Application for benefits under the SNA program must be filed in person at the Department of Social Services serving your area. Apart from emergencies, it may take up to 45 days to process your application.
- A personal needs allowance, when there are sufficient funds left, must be paid up to an amount equal to 20 percent of the sum of the basic allowance and energy allowances. [↩]