Public Assistance benefits for rent, groceries and utilities may be available to furloughed workers and those working without pay through OTDA.
New York, NY - January 17, 2019 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to provide support for federal workers impacted by the federal government shutdown that now exceeds the record for the longest government shutdown in United States history. The Governor called for the New York State Department of Labor to provide increased support to workers seeking unemployment insurance benefits and the State's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to help those working without pay apply for and obtain public assistance benefits.
"It is unconscionable that the President is holding hostage the wages and livelihoods of hard-working Americans in an attempt to advance his hateful and regressive political agenda," Governor Cuomo said. "While the federal administration steps on the backs of workers, New York State is stepping up to help in any way we can. These measures will ensure furloughed federal workers in New York receive prompt and special one-on-one services so they can obtain the vital safety-net benefits they need during this hard time."
"We shouldn't be playing politics over keeping a government open and functioning," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "People's lives are at stake every minute the federal shutdown continues. To help the hardworking New Yorkers impacted by the longest shutdown in history, state agencies will provide the assistance, benefits and support they need while their wages are being denied by the federal government."
The Department of Labor has been directed to accelerate the Unemployment Insurance application process and extend the hours at the Call Center. The Governor has also directed the Department of Labor to work with the federal unions to make sure their members are made aware of these benefits.
In addition, some furloughed federal workers or federal employees who are still working but not receiving a paycheck may also be eligible for emergency assistance to help meet basic needs through the state's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Even households that are not traditionally eligible for public assistance may be eligible for short-term assistance to help pay rent or buy food if they do not have resources readily available to them due to loss of income. Anyone interested in receiving this help or learning about what programs they may be eligible for are encouraged to visit https://otda.ny.gov/programs/apply/ or go to their local department of social services or New York City Job Center.
If you're a New Yorker who has been affected by the federal shutdown, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits through the NYS Department of Labor. To see if you qualify or to apply for benefits call 1-888-209-8124 and you will be able to speak with Department of Labor specialists who can assist you in quickly receiving the benefits you need. The call center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday. You can also apply through DOL's website: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm.
If you are interested in learning more about finding temporary or part-time job opportunities visit the Department of Labor Career Centers in your area or call 1-888-469-7365. Or you can go you the website at www.labor.ny.gov.
Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "This shutdown is a hardship on federal employees, but luckily there are benefits available to help them through this difficult time. Our agency continues to stand ready to assist our fellow government workers. Reach out to us — we're here to help."
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, "Federal workers adversely impacted by the ongoing government shutdown need to know that they may qualify for help while they are forced to go without a paycheck. It is important that they reach out to their local department of social services to find out what assistance may be available to them."
On January 14, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance announced that most recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive their full February benefits early due to the ongoing federal government shutdown. Current SNAP recipients may receive their February benefits by Thursday, January 17. OTDA also urged the SNAP recipients receiving their benefits early to budget accordingly due to the uncertainty caused by the federal shutdown. More information is available here.
Additionally, the New York State Public Service Commission announced today that New York's major electric and gas utilities are implementing special collection practices for customers furloughed and those working without pay due to the federal government shutdown. The State's major utilities have committed to assist federal employees who may be experiencing a financial hardship that makes it difficult for them to pay their energy bills during the government shutdown, keeping these provisions in place for the duration of the shutdown and until they get paid.