Cayuga County Human Services
Sandie Gilliland Director
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) is the agency governing Welfare Reform implementation. We cover all Cash Assistance programs (Family Assistance and Safety Net Assistance), Food Stamps, Home Energy Assistance (HEAP) emergency Assistance, and Employment Programs. Our focus is on providing short-term help to families and individuals while they work their way toward self-sufficiency. We do this by having a "Work First" education, employment and rehabilitation opportunities.
There are two main Cash Assistance programs that provide money for basic living expenses.
Family Assistance (FA) is for needy households containing children, and is funded 50% by the Federal government for up to 5 years in a person's lifetime. The remaining 50% is split equally between the State and Local government.
Assistance (SNA) is for needy individuals or childless couples. SNA is funded 50% by the State and 50% by the local government. There is no lifetime limit. In addition, a family that uses their 5-year FA benefit becomes automatically eligible for SNA. In Cayuga County, a household of four typically will receive no more than $667.00 per month to pay all their living expenses. If the family has any earned income, they receive less.
Food Stamps is a Federal nutrition assistance program which helps low-income households meet their nutritional needs. A family of four with no income could receive at most $434.00 in Food Stamps. The same family could earn up to $1,800.00 a month and still receive some Food Stamps. WIC is also available to many families and can supplement Food Stamps.
The Home Energy Assistance Program is federally funded program that helps low-income households pay their home energy costs. Heap is usually available from November through April.
Applicants for and recipients of TA must participate in countable work activities in order to receive Assistance. The Federal government outlines acceptable work activities. Very few adults are exempt from the work requirements. The Food Stamp program also requires certain adults to participate in work activities. The Federal government has set "participation rates" which must be either employed or engaged in a countable work activity for up to 40 hours a week in order for the state and local district to qualify for full Federal funding. Work activities include employment, work experience, job search and readiness training, vocational education or community service. We have also set up many grant funded programs that offer short term occupational training (BRIDGE - Cayuga Community College), adult education (EDGE-BOCES), intensive case management (Continuing Employment Education Unit WtW), emergency one-time help for qualified employed individuals (Work Instead of Needing Welfare Assistance Unit), and job search assistance contracted through Employment & Training and DOL Jobs person.