January 31, 2022
Dear Community Partner:
Thank you for your partnership in our shared commitment to serve New Yorkers in need. We hope that this communication, as well as the weekly community calls, will continue to serve as an important platform to share information and answer your questions. We will continue our work toward the shared goal of fighting poverty, income inequality, and addressing homelessness in our city with care and compassion for our clients, staff, and provider partners.
These calls are held on Tuesdays at 4 pm. As a reminder, please reach out to DSS Outreach at DSSoutreach@dss.nyc.gov to be added to the list of invitees for the Tuesday call and/or to be added to the distribution list for this weekly communication.
Following the standing weekly calls, we have continued to share important updates as well as an ongoing synopsis of the information shared in prior communications on our DSS COVID-19 Community Updates page. We encourage you to use and share this link to answer questions on the many topics we have covered during the pandemic.
To be added to the distribution list for this weekly update, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) Update:
The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is preparing to distribute Summer P-EBT, which will provide eligible students with $375 in food benefits. We will share additional information as it becomes available. As a reminder, P-EBT is distributed by the State OTDA.
For more information:
Extension of Public Health Emergency
On January 14, 2022, the United States Department of Health and Human Services extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency for another 90 days. The renewal became effective on January 16, 2022 and will expire on April 16, 2022.
Eviction Moratorium – Hardship Declarations
With the expiration of the eviction moratorium, tenants who have submitted the Hardship Declaration should respond to any court notices they receive indicating that their case is scheduled for a Housing Court hearing. Hardship declarations may no longer be filed and will no longer grant an automatic stay of eviction. However, a pending application for ERAP will provide ERAP tenant protections. Once a tenant applies for ERAP they cannot be evicted for a lease expiration or for non-payment of rent during the COVID-19 Pandemic, according to the State OTDA’s website. Learn more about applying for ERAP here.
One Shot Deal – Clarification of ERAP Application Requirement
Applicants for One Shot Deal/Emergency Grants for rent arrears are no longer required to apply for ERAP to be eligible for a grant from HRA. This does not change with the re-opening of the ERAP portal. However, individuals who applied before the ERAP portal initially closed on 11/14/2021, and are still pending a State determination, must have that determination rendered before HRA is able to provide assistance for rent arrears.
Child Tax Credit
The CTC helps families get money back to for eligible child care costs. The amount received depends on the number of qualifying children claimed on the tax return and their ages. Those who do not have earned income are still eligible. The deadline to sign up for the Advance Child Tax Credit payment was November 15, 2021. However, the credit can still be claimed —worth up to $3,600 per child—in 2022 by filing taxes. Additional tax credit information can be found here.
For more information and to learn about virtual, drop-off, and in-person tax assistance options, visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311 and ask for tax preparation assistance.
COVID-19 Vaccination Information
As a reminder, the Pfizer vaccine is available for children 5-11 years old in NYC. Children must have a parent or guardian's consent to get the vaccine. The City has created several resources to provide useful information and help promote the vaccine for children ages 5-11:
Vaccination sites can be found at nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or by calling 877-VAX4-NYC. New Yorkers can also text their ZIP code to 438829 to receive information on vaccination sites near them, including what age groups can be served at each site.
For more information about vaccines and the vaccines for children, families can go to nyc.gov/covidvaccine and see this FAQ, or call 212-COVID19 with questions about the vaccine.
Vaccine Referral Bonus Program
An additional $3M has been allotted to extend the NYC vaccine referral bonus program through January 2022. This referral bonus continues to be available to small businesses, restaurants, and civic organizations, including community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and Parent-Teacher Associations. These are all eligible to receive a $100 vaccine referral bonus for each employee or customer who they refer to a City-run vaccine site for their first shot. The referred individual is still eligible to receive their own $100 bonus. To sign up for the program, businesses and organizations should use the this form.
The City has created a vaccine fact sheet which can be found here, and is available in additional languages here.
Walk-up vaccines are available at most City-operated vaccination sites. To find the nearest walk-up site, or to schedule an appointment at a City-operated site, visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov. NYC Mobile Vaccine Buses continue to provide vaccines. The full schedule of mobile vaccine locations can be found online here.
Flu vaccines are available at City-operated vaccination sites and can be administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. Locations can be found at the NYC Vaccine Finder website.
Vaccination and Testing Apps
- CDC Vaccination Card. A digital photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable.
- NYC Vaccination Record or other official immunization record, including from a health care provider. A digital photo or photocopy of this card is also acceptable. If you are unable to get this record, call 311.
NYC COVID Safe App. Android. iOS. This app can be used to upload a photo of a vaccine card and/or a recent COVID test. The vaccine card will stay on the app unless removed, but test results will disappear from the app after seven days.
CLEAR Health Pass. Android. iOS. Individuals can use the digital vaccine card option in the CLEAR app if they are age 18 or older and are fully vaccinated.
NYS Excelsior Pass (or Excelsior Pass Plus). Allows an individual to find and store proof of vaccination right on their phone with a QR code, or to print out their QR code instead. New York residents who were vaccinated out of State can learn more about their options at the Excelsior Pass FAQ. The app, called NYS Excelsior Pass Wallet, is available for download on iPhone and Android phones.
Individuals who are fully vaccinated but have lost their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or need verification of their vaccine status can request a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record. Individuals cannot get a replacement COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card at this time but can get an official record noting they have been vaccinated. For more information and to submit a request visit the NYC DOHMH Vaccine Records site.
At-home COVID Testing for Immunocompromised Individuals
Testing in NYC
Free testing continues to be available at City-run sites throughout the five boroughs. The NYC Health and Hospitals COVID-19 Testing Sites page includes detailed information about all City-run mobile, brick-and-mortar, and micro testing sites across the five boroughs, including location, schedule, and types of testing offered. Locations of testing sites can also be accessed by texting “COVID TEST” to 855-48. These are no cost testing sites open to all New Yorkers.
COVID-19 testing at most City-run sites is walk-in only. All New Yorkers are tested on a first-come, first-served basis. Some sites allow pre-registration through this link, which will streamline check-in upon arrival.
The Test-and-Trace Corps offers the COVID 19 Wait Times Dashboard, which displays estimated wait times for NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 testing locations. This wait time information is updated by site staff every two hours.
NY State currently operates COVID-19 testing sites at eleven MTA stations. All are for PCR tests and accept walk-ins, though operating hours may vary.
- Manhattan's 125th Street Station (A/B/C/D lines). Mon through Fri, 8 AM to 2 PM
- The Bronx's Bedford Park Station (B/D lines). Mon through Fri, 8 AM to 2 PM
- Queens' Queens Plaza Station (E/M/R lines), Mon through Fri from 3 p.m. to 8 PM
- Brooklyn's Coney Island/Stilwell Station (D/F/N/Q lines), Mon through Fri, AM to 2 PM
Times Square-42nd St (Manhattan) Mon – Sun, 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
- Grand Central Terminal (Manhattan) Mon – Sun, 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM
- Penn Station (Manhattan) Mon – Sun, 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM
- Broadway Junction (Brooklyn) Mon – Fri, 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
E. 180th St. (Bronx) Mon – Fri, 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
- Roosevelt Ave. (Queens) Mon – Fri, 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Jamaica-179th St. (Queens) Mon – Fri, 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
The testing sites at Times Square-42nd St. and Grand Central Terminal are also pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites and offer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
DOHMH also currently operates eight COVID Express Testing sites. Appointments are required at these express locations and can be reserved through the COVID Express Testing site. COVID Express site test results are available within 24 hours or less, with most patients receiving same-day results. All tests performed at these sites are PCR-based laboratory diagnostic tests, which are the most accurate type of test available. COVID Express site testing is free to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.
Testing in NYC Schools
Beginning January 3, the NYC in-school testing program expanded, doubling the number of students tested at each school and including both vaccinated and unvaccinated students. Families with students in first grade and up can choose to participate in the program by completing the online form in their NYC Schools Account or returning a signed paper form to school.
Additionally, schools are now distributing free, take-home COVID-19 rapid test kits to any student or any staff who exhibit COVID-like symptoms or have been in a classroom where a positive case has been identified. Beginning January 10, at-home test distribution includes 3-K and Pre-K students. Learn more here.
SNAP Emergency Allotments Extended
Beginning in March 2020, SNAP benefits have been supplemented with emergency allotments each month, so that households that were not receiving the maximum benefit for their household size began receiving a supplement to bring them to that level. In April 2021, the emergency allotment amounts were modified so that the minimum monthly SNAP emergency allotment was $95, even for households already receiving the maximum benefit allotment. Households that previously would have received a supplement of less than $95 began receiving a supplement of at least $95. For households receiving a supplement of greater than $95, this policy change did not affect the amount of the supplement received.
These emergency allotments are scheduled to continue for one month beyond the end of the federal public health emergency. The public health emergency was extended on January 16 to end in April 2022.
The emergency SNAP supplement is being issued to households even if their SNAP case closed during the month of issuance. Further information is available here.
Temporary Expansion of SNAP Eligibility for College Students
As a reminder, the Federal Emergency Relief Act temporarily expands the SNAP student eligibility rules by amending the allowable exemptions to the rule in two additional ways:
- A student is eligible if they are eligible to participate in state or federal work-study, regardless of whether the student is actively employed or participating in work-study; and
- Any student that has an "expected family contribution" of $0 may participate in SNAP if otherwise eligible.
Beginning on January 16, 2021, students meeting the expanded criteria above are eligible to receive SNAP benefits. Students must provide verification that they meet one of these new criteria. The expansion of SNAP eligibility for students applies to both undergraduate and graduate students.
These amended federal eligibility qualifications for students will be in effect until 30 days after the COVID–19 federal public health emergency is lifted. The public health emergency is currently extended until April 16, 2022, making the temporary expansion through May 16, 2022.
Temporary Waiver of SNAP Periodic Reports
New York State has been granted a waiver by FNS to delay the processing of SNAP periodic reports. Households that were due to submit a periodic report in January, February or March 2022 will not have to submit a periodic report, nor will one have to be processed for them before their next recertification, and no negative action may be taken against households that fail to return a completed report. Unless a further waiver is granted, normal periodic report processing will resume for households due to return a report in April 2022. This waiver does not interrupt the periodic mailer production schedule. Any returned mailers will be evaluated for changes that would increase benefits and process these cases so that recipients will receive the increased benefits.
Suspension of the Billing Process for SNAP, Cash Assistance and Medicaid Overpayment Cases
Billings for recovery of overpayments and repayable grants for SNAP, Cash Assistance and Medicaid remains stayed through April 16, 2022, which is the date of the current extension of the public health emergency. Where we are legally required to continue collection efforts and the case is approaching the Statute of Limitations, HRA is sending a payment request letter. Enforcement actions on judgments remains stayed until April 16, 2022.
Medicaid Easements and Application Updates
Medicaid easements have been extended through March 2022. This includes the automatic extension for cases with an authorization that ends in March 2022, even if the client does not submit their renewal. These cases will be extended for 12 months. Any case that is closed during the COVID-19 emergency for failure to renew or failure to provide documentation will be re-opened and coverage restored to ensure no gap in coverage.
Childcare Payment Waivers Extended
The Office of Children and Family Services has extended two ACS childcare waivers, allowing HRA to provide payment for an unlimited number of absences and program closures. The waivers, which were due to end December 31, were extended through January 2022 and are now further extended through February 2022. The waivers apply to both contract and voucher programs including Day Care Centers, Group Family Day Care, Family Day Care, Legally-Exempt Group Programs, and School Age Child Care. Legally-exempt family child care and in-home child care providers are not eligible to receive payment for program closures, but are eligible for payment for absences.
Vaccine/Testing Employment Separation – Impact on Benefits
Applicants or recipients of Cash Assistance and SNAP benefits who quit or are terminated from a job due to failure or refusal to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine and/or testing mandates may be ineligible for benefits or subject to a sanction on their benefits case. This includes individuals who stopped going to work in advance of the mandate effective date.
Applicants/recipients will be given an opportunity to demonstrate good cause before being denied or sanctioned. Good cause may be granted after review of a case for medical reasons or an inability to access the vaccine. Clients who are terminated or quit based on refusal to get vaccinated or comply with employer testing mandates will not be granted good cause.
Applicants/recipients will also be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate that they did not leave their employment in order to qualify for initial or increased Cash Assistance or SNAP benefits. If the applicant/recipient can demonstrate that they have made reasonable efforts to support themselves prior to applying for benefits, HRA will accept this as adequate demonstration that they did not leave employment to seek benefits.
If HRA staff determines that the applicant/recipient does not quality for good cause and has lost employment in order to qualify for initial or increased benefits, they will be subject to a voluntary quit sanction or denial of their application.
A voluntary quit sanction will be determined using standard criteria which is used for non-compliance with work requirements for CA clients. Clients will be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate compliance in order to avoid a sanction.
NYS NCP Earned Income Tax Credit
This tax credit is for noncustodial parents with a NYS Child Support order who have paid their child support obligation in full. The amount of the credit received is up to $1,358 and depends on an individual’s income on the tax return. Filers are no longer required to provide their child’s social security number in order to receive a refund and can go back two years and file for the credit that was missed. The refund will be applied towards a noncustodial parent’s child support debt, if they have one.
ACCESS HRA Updates and Child Support Mobile App
On January 29th, HRA’s Office of Child Support Services launched a new ACCESS HRA Child Support App. Clients will be able to use the same log in information for the ACCESS HRA client portal, ACCESS HRA Mobile app, and the new Child Support Mobile app.
- With the new ACCESS HRA Child Support Mobile App, clients will now be able to complete and submit the following forms (documents can be uploaded using the app):
- LDSS-5143 - Application for Child Support Services
- LDSS-5145 - Referral for Child Support Services
- LDSS-4882 - Application/Referral for Child Support Services
Clients can download this new mobile app in their Google Play or App Store by searching for “ACCESS HRA”, “Child Support”, or “OCSS”. Learn more at nyc.gov/childsupportmobile.
Updates to the ACCESS HRA client portal include:
- New security features were introduced to gather a recovery email address for client accounts.
- Updates within ACCESS HRA will direct clients to the New York State Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
IDNYC has reopened a total of 16 public enrollment centers throughout the five boroughs. Capacity is limited and by appointment only. Hours of operation are listed on IDNYC’s website and available by calling 311.
Effective December 15, 2021, IDNYC launched a collaboration with the Department of Corrections (DoC) to facilitate enrollment of our municipal identification card for individuals recently released from Rikers. IDNYC will now use DoC’s electronic database to prove one point of the necessary three points of the discharged individual’s identity. The enrolling individual will still have to prove the remaining required points of identity and residency.
In order to assist those affected by the recent fire in the Bronx, IDNYC will now accept a letter from the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), American Red Cross or any other organization licensed, certified, authorizes or funded by OEM or FDNY, for the purpose of establishing residency.
Additional Resources and Information
NYC Free Tax Prep and Tax Credit Resources
NYC Free Tax Prep providers can help individuals and families claim important tax credits including the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. For the 2022 tax season, families with income of $72,000 or less and single filers with income of $50,000 or less in 2021 can use NYC Free Tax Prep to file for free. Please visit the NYC Tax Prep website for more information.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax benefit for working people and families. The amount received depends on an individual’s income and the number of qualifying children claimed on the tax return. Those who do not have children may still be eligible. As of 2022, filers can use their 2019 or 2020 tax year to maximize EITC benefits. Additional tax credit information can be found here.
For more information and to learn about virtual, drop-off, and in-person tax assistance options, visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311 and ask for tax preparation assistance.
NYC SafeStart Account
The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection in partnership with various banks and credit unions across the City offers a savings account program with:
- NO overdraft fees
- NO monthly fees, provided minimum balances are met
- LOW minimum balance requirements ($25 or less)
- ATM card (No debit card)
This service may be helpful to those who are receiving tax credits and stimulus funds. Additional information and list of participating banks and credit unions can be found here.
NeighborhoodStat – Community Led Approaches to Public Safety – Request for Proposals
NeighborhoodStat (Community Led Approaches to Public Safety) Request for Proposals (RFP) is now available to view and respond. Details about the program as well as the RFP can be found here.
The deadline to respond is Monday, February 21, 2022, 7:00pm.
NYC Job Fair
Learn about the various job opportunities available at NYC Parks and other city agencies, including FDNY, NYPD, DCAS, the MTA, and many more! This virtual information session will feature 10-minute presentations from each agency or NYC Parks division, followed by a Q&A.
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022
4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
This virtual event is free and open to the public. Space is limited. Visit bit.ly/ParksVirtualJobFair to register for the event. A Zoom link will be sent in advance.
Ladders for Leaders
Ladders for Leaders (LFL) recruits, screens, and mentors over 4,000 interns each year--since 2004, LFL alumni have earned over $20 million in post-internship salaries and have been placed in prestigious jobs throughout New York City. This program is an initiative of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and is supported by the NYC Center for Youth Employment and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. For more information visit the NYC Ladders for Leaders website.
Family Development Credential (FDC) Program
The Spring 2022 Online Scholarship Applications are now available for both the Family Development Credential (FDC) Program for frontline staff; and the Family Development Credential Program for Leaders for supervisors, managers, and directors in social service organizations. These intensive professional development training opportunities emphasize empowerment and family support to deliver human services, education, and healthcare to individuals, youth, and families. More information is available here: Family Development Credential Program.
Ready Up NYC Webinar Series
"Ready Up NYC" is a monthly webinar series focused on providing preparedness tips to all New Yorkers. Upcoming Ready Up NYC webinars are as follows. Register via:
February 17 at 2:30 PM: Topic: Financial Emergency
- Planning with FEMA
- 4 steps to financial preparedness
- Disaster assistance resources
March 17 at 2:30 PM: Topic: John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service
- Fellowship program overview
- Alumni experiences
- Application process
Community-wide Conference Call
We look forward to your continued participation on our weekly briefing calls and your ongoing work to help make sure that the critical information shared here and in our weekly calls is being communicated to our shared clients.
The information contained in this communication is a synopsis of what was shared on our weekly call as well as new developments. All of the information included in each of our prior communications, since March 2020, is available on our website on the COVID-19 Community Updates page.
Thank you for your partnership in serving our fellow New Yorkers in need of our services. If you have any questions or concerns about the issues covered in this communication or on our weekly calls, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Advocacy and Outreach at DSSoutreach@dss.nyc.gov.
Gary P. Jenkins
New York City Department of Social Services