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Special Assistance for Furloughed Federal Workers

Long Island is fortunate to have a robust network of community-based organizations which provide safety net services to individuals and families in need. 

United Way’s information and referral system, 2-1-1 Long Island, is available 24/7 to provide referrals to existing local resources.  Trained call specialists can help assess needs and make referrals to the most appropriate services.  For furloughed government workers, this could include Dept. of Social Service offices for public benefits, the Home Energy Assistance Program (H.E.A.P.) intake sites for emergency heating needs, food pantries/food resources, Dept. of Labor, Career Centers, etc.

Dial 2-1-1 (or 1.888.774.7633) - Open 24 hours, seven days a week

United Way of Long Island’s heating assistance program, Project Warmth, is also open to help with one-time emergency fuel deliveries or utility heating payments to those not eligible for, or who have exhausted, emergency H.E.A.P.  Application required - call 2-1-1 Long Island for referrals to a Project Warmth intake site.  Project Warmth will remain open until funds are depleted, generally in March.

2-1-1US has created a new national resource to provide answers to commonly asked questions regarding public benefits at http://211.org/services/govshutdown. Site also includes information about financial relief and support resources from corporations on a national level.  Check the website often --more information will be posted as it becomes available.

NOTE:

  • The Department of Defense is funded through September 30, 2019 which means all DoD military members, military retirees, military annuitants (survivor benefit recipients), and DoD civilian employees will receive their regular paychecks through that date. 
  • The Internal Revenue Service confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.
HUD Housing

For information on Tenants' Rights during the Federal Government shutdown, visit www.nslawservices.org/single-post/section8tenantrights or the National Housing Law Project at www.nhlp.org. Includes Section 8 and Public Housing.  

SUNY and CUNY Students:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has directed SUNY and CUNY to assist students with college-related expenses during the prolonged federal shutdown. Payments for tuition and related college expenses will be postponed, and no late fees or penalties will be charged to impacted students. This temporary reprieve will apply to federal employees, dependents of federal employees, and students who are dependent on loans from the federal government that may be delayed. SUNY and CUNY leadership will work with their respective campuses to make financial arrangements for impacted students and their families – check with school’s Office of Financial Aid.

Unemployment Benefits and Public Assistance Benefits:

The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) has information about eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits and potential responsibility for the repayment of benefits at https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/furloughed-federal-workers.shtm. Department of Labor functions, including Unemployment Insurance benefits and workforce development programs like Career Centers, will not be impacted by a short-term federal government shutdown.

New York State Department of Labor (DOL) will provide increased support to federal workers impacted by the federal government shutdown seeking unemployment insurance benefits. The DOL will accelerate the application process and extend call center hours. The Department of Labor to work with the federal unions to make sure their members are made aware of these benefits.

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.

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) may be able to help furloughed federal workers apply for and obtain public assistance benefits. Some furloughed federal workers or federal employees who are still working but not receiving a paycheck may be eligible for emergency assistance to help meet basic needs through the state's OTDA. 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.

Utilities:
The New York State Public Service Commission announced 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 (National Grid, Consolidated Edison, Central Hudson, Orange and Rockland, New York State Electric and Gas, Rochester Electric and Gas, PSEG Long Island and National Fuel Gas) 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.   These utilities have all committed to keeping these provisions in place for the duration of the shutdown and until they get paid.
 
While the specific provisions will vary by utility, some of these special practices include: suspending or waiving late payment fees; extending or deferring payment due dates; and, crafting deferred payment agreements tailored to each affected customer’s financial circumstances. These special practices will not only help furloughed and unpaid working federal government employees avoid the possibility of having their energy services turned off but will also help these customers avoid lowering their credit ratings because of circumstances beyond their control.  Affected Federal government employees are encouraged to reach out to their utility’s Credit Department or customer service departments if they are unable to pay their bill.  The utilities may place a collection suspend on accounts, suspend collection calls and disconnect notices; and waive late fees. Additionally, collection arrangement or deferred payment agreement will be structured as required if the shutdown is extended and balances exceed the customer’s ability to pay.
 
United Way of Long Island’s Project Warmth is Long Island’s only non-governmental emergency fuel fund that helps families including the elderly, unemployed, underemployed and disabled, who find themselves in an energy crisis during the cold winter months. For assistance from Project Warmth, contact United Way of Long Island’s 2-1-1 service by dialing 2-1-1 (or 1-888-774-7633) 7 days a week, 9:00am-5:00pm, for referrals to an intake site, or visitwww.211longisland.org.  Project Warmth will remain open until all funds are depleted. 
Food:

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. This not an “extra” or “bonus” benefit and households will not receive a second benefit for the month of February.

Visit 211Long Island’s listing of Food Pantries and other food resources at https://211longisland.communityos.org/cms/food_foodpantries.

Long Island Cares, Regional Food Bank welcomes furloughed federal workers at its three satellite locations M/W/F 9am-3pm and Thurs. 9am-5pm.  Tues. 9am-5pm is exclusively for members of the armed forces/Coast Guard and their families.  Locations:  220 Broadway in Huntington Station 631.824.6384; 21 East Sunrise Hwy. in Freeport 516.442.5221 and 163-1 N. Wellwood Ave. in Lindenhurst 631.991.8106.   Workers are also welcome to arrange for individual appointments to receive assistance. www.licares.org

Island Harvest Food Bank is offering temporary food assistance and resources to federal workers whose pay has been deferred due to the partial government shutdown. The food bank is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The food bank will also provide referrals as needed through its network of 450 community-based agencies in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Call 516-294-8528 or 631-873-4775 or www.islandharvest.org

 

 

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