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Social Security/ Public Benefits Unit

Social Security/ Public Benefits Unit

Are you having problems with paying your rent, utilities or buying food? Do you have a place to stay tonight? Do you need health insurance? Are you having a problem paying for medical bills? Do you need help with the Department of Social Services? Are you having a problem with Medicaid or Medicare? These are just a few of the areas in which we might be able to help by assisting you in filing an application for benefits or appealing an unfair denial or termination of benefits.

An emergency is an urgent need or situation that has to be taken care of right away. Some examples of an emergency for which you may qualify for assistance 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 don’t have heating fuel during the cold weather months, your utilities have been 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. Some examples of emergency assistance include, but are not limited to: payment of shelter arrears, payment of utility arrears, payment of fuel or fuel deliveries, payment of domestic violence shelter costs, payment of temporary housing (motel/hotel) costs.

provides assistance for individuals and couples who have been determined eligible or are receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or State Supplementation Program (SSP) payments.

provides assistance to meet the emergency needs of pregnant women and families with at least one child under age 18, or under age 19 and regularly attending full time secondary school.

Social Security is a Federal “pay as you go” retirement program, which provide monthly benefits after a qualifying individual retires or becomes severely disabled. Social Security can also help to support family members after the individual dies, by paying Survivor’s Benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance is a Federal assistance program that pays benefits to an individual with a disability and meets medical criteria, and who is “insured,” meaning that he or she worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. SSD may also pay benefits to certain of his or her family members.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal assistance program designed to provide income to aged, blind, or disabled people who have limited assets with which to support themselves.
In order to qualify for SSI benefits, you must be aged 65 years or older, be legally blind, or meet the definition of permanent disability provided by the Social Security Administration.
In order to qualify for SSI, a family’s combined income and resources must total less than $3000. If you are unmarried your income and resources must total less than $2000.

Social Security is part of the retirement plan for almost every American worker. It provides replacement income for qualified retirees and their families.

Social Security replaces a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings. The portion is based on your highest 35 years of earnings and varies depending on how much you earn and when you choose to start benefits.

Employees pay taxes into Social Security. The Social Security Administration, in turn, uses the tax money to pay benefits to: retirees, individuals who are disabled, survivors of workers who have died, and dependents of beneficiaries.

Safety Net Assistance provides cash assistance to eligible needy individuals and families who are not eligible for Family Assistance through the TANF program. SNA can help: single individuals, childless couples, children living apart from any adult relative, families of individuals found to be abusing drugs or alcohol, families of individuals who refuse drug/alcohol screening, assessment or treatment, legal aliens who are eligible for temporary assistance, but who are not eligible for federal reimbursement.

Recipients of SNA who are determined to be able to work must also comply with work requirements to receive SNA benefits.

Generally, you can receive cash SNA for a maximum of two years in a lifetime. After that, if you are eligible for SNA, it is provided in non-cash form, such as a payment made directly to your landlord or voucher sent directly to your utility company. In addition, non-cash SNA is provided for: families of individuals found to be abusing drugs or alcohol, families of persons refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment or treatment, and families with an adult member who has exceeded the 60 month lifetime time limit.

SNAP issues electronic benefits that can be used like cash to purchase food. This program helps low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled and others feed their families. Eligibility and benefit levels are based on household size, income and other factors.

This program provides temporary help for needy men, women and children. If you are unable to work, can’t find a job, or your job does not pay enough, TANF may be able to help you pay for your basic expenses.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UI) provide temporary financial assistance for those who are a part of the labor market. They paid for by employer contributions to a state fund. UI is intended for those who are unemployed involuntarily and through no fault of their own. To be eligible for UI, an unemployed person must have worked in covered employment, must have lost last employment under qualifying conditions, and must have sufficient earnings in months leading up to the application. The weekly benefit amount depends on wages earned during the past four quarters. UI benefits are generally paid for a maximum of 26 weeks.
Other areas of assistance for low-income people would include assistance with paying medical costs (Medicaid), help with paying to heat a person’s home (HEAP), and assistance with paying the cost of childcare (the Child Care Subsidy Program). Additionally, if you are on Social Security Disability or age 65 years or older, you may be entitled to Medicare which can cover a substantial portion of your medical costs.