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Temporary Assistance FAQs

  1.  How do I apply for Temporary Assistance?
  2. You must file an application with the Suffolk County Department of Social Services at one of the following centers:

    • South West Center, 2 South 2nd Street, Deer Park, NY 11729, 631-854-6600
    • Smithtown Center, 200 Wireless Blvd, Hauppauge, NY 11788, 631-853-8714
    • Coram Center, 80 Middle Country Road, Coram, NY 11727, 631-854-2300
    • Riverhead Center, 893 E. Main St., Riverhead, NY 11901, 631-852-3500

    You should identify any emergency need you may have at this time. If you have an emergency, you will be interviewed and told in writing about the decision on your emergency the same day you apply.

    For Temporary Assistance, your interview should be within seven working days of your filing an application. You should be told within 30 days of the date you filed your application for Family Assistance if your application is approved or denied. You should be told within 45 days of the date you filed a Safety Net application if your application is approved or denied.

  3.  What should I bring to my interview?
  4. You should bring the following documents to your interview. However, if you do not have them on that date, you will be given time to provide the documents to your worker. If you cannot get the proof or documents you need, please ask your worker to help you. The most common things you will be asked to provide include but are not limited to:

    • Proof of Identity
    • Age of each applying member
    • Where you live
    • Household composition/size
    • Shelter expenses
    • Social Security numbers for all
    • Absent parent information
    • Citizenship or current Alien status
    • Whether you are drug/alcohol dependent
    • Earned income
    • Child support or alimony
    • Social Security benefits
    • Veterans benefits
    • Interest and dividends
    • Bank accounts
    • Vehicle information
    • Information on a non-custodial parent
  5.   What is an Emergency?
  6. An emergency is an urgent need or situation that has to be taken care of right away. Some examples of an emergency are:

    • You are homeless.
    • You have little or no food.
    • Your landlord has told you that you must move or has given you eviction papers.
    • You do not have fuel for heating in the cold weather period.
    • Your utilities are shut-off, or are about to be shut-off, or you have a 72- hour disconnect notice.
    • You or someone in your family has been physically harmed, or threatened with violence by a partner, ex-partner or other household member.

    If you and/or your family are experiencing an emergency situation you may be eligible for emergency assistance. You do not have to be eligible for ongoing Temporary Assistance to receive Emergency Assistance. Some examples of emergency assistance include but are not limited to:

    • Payment of shelter arrears
    • Payment of utility arrears
    • Payment of fuel and/or cost of fuel delivery
    • Payment of Domestic Violence Shelter costs
    • Payment of Temporary Housing costs
  7.   Are there programs for emergency assistance?
  8. There are three assistance programs for emergencies:

    • Emergency Assistance to Adults (EAA) provides assistance for individuals and couples who have been determined eligible or are receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
    • Emergency Assistance to Needy Families (EAF) provides assistance to meet the temporary needs of pregnant women and families with at least one child under age 18, or under 19 and regularly attending full time secondary school.
    • Emergency Safety Net Assistance (ESNA) provides assistance to single adults and childless couples.

    This is just a brief explanation of the programs offered by the Suffolk County Department of Social Services. More information can be found on the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) website at or on

Suffolk County Government

H. Lee Dennison Bldg

100 Veterans Memorial Hwy
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Riverhead County Center

County Road 51
Riverhead, NY 11901