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Title: Section 370.3 - Emergency and short-term cases.

370.3 Emergency and short-term cases.

(a) General. Social services districts must authorize safety net assistance to provide for the effective and prompt relief of identified needs which cannot be provided for under Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children (EAF) or Family Assistance (FA), including presumptive eligibility for FA. Emergency and short-term assistance is limited to the items, conditions and amounts specified in Part 352 of this Subchapter. The district must provide necessary supervision to such cases in order to modify or terminate grants as quickly as circumstances require. An emergency or a short-term case is a case in which need is presumed to continue for a period of less than three months; provided, however, that cases in which frequent reapplications for assistance are made are not considered emergency or short-term.

(b) Eligibility for emergency safety net assistance. Social services districts must authorize emergency safety net assistance only under the following conditions:

(1) there is an identified emergency need. An emergency is a serious occurrence or situation needing prompt action;

(2) the individual or household is without income or resources immediately available to meet the emergency need and the individual's or household's gross income at the time of application does not exceed 125 percent of the current Federal income official poverty line, as defined and annually revised by the Federal Office of Management and Budget. For purposes of determining eligibility for assistance pursuant to this section, these annually revised poverty lines are effective April 1st through March 31st of each fiscal year. If the emergency is the result of a fire, flood or other like catastrophe or if the emergency assistance is granted in accordance with sections 352.5(c) - (e) of this Title, the individual's or household's gross income at the time of application can exceed 125 percent of the Federal income official poverty line;

(3) the emergency need cannot be met under the Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children, the Home Energy Assistance Program, FA or Safety Net Assistance programs;

(4) the applicant is not disqualified from receiving recurring assistance or subject to a durational sanction, or the emergency did not arise because the applicant had previously been disqualified or sanctioned for failure to comply with the non-financial requirements of this title; and

(5) in an application for an allowance to pay shelter arrears where the applicant reasonably demonstrates an ability to pay shelter expenses, including any amounts in excess of the appropriate local agency maximum monthly shelter allowance in the future. In determining an applicant's ability to pay shelter expenses, a social services district must consider the applicant's ability to make payments under any repayment agreements entered into in accordance with this paragraph. However, when in the judgment of the local social services official, the individual or household has sufficient income or resources to secure and maintain alternate permanent housing, shelter arrears need not be paid to maintain a specific housing accommodation. To receive assistance to pay shelter arrears, the applicant must sign an agreement to repay the assistance in a period not to exceed 12 months from receipt of such assistance. The repayment agreement must set forth a schedule of payments that will assure repayment within the 12-month period, and must specify the frequency of the payments, the due date of the first payment, the address to where payments must be made and the consequences of failing to repay the assistance as agreed. Subsequent assistance to pay arrears may not be granted unless there are no past-due amounts owed under any such repayment agreement. The social services district, in addition to any rights it has pursuant to the social services law, may enforce the repayment agreement in any manner available to a creditor.

(c) Emergency safety net assistance must not be used to meet needs during a period of ineligibility for public assistance due to the receipt of a lump sum.

(d) Determination. When emergency need is met prior to the completion of investigation, the evidence on which the presumption of eligibility and need is based must be documented in the case record.

(e) Authorization. Where the need for safety net assistance is shortterm or where emergency needs are met prior to the completion of an investigation, assistance must be authorized on a one-time basis or for the period during which the need is expected to continue. In cases where the need is deemed to be emergency or short-term, the grant may be limited to those items for which there is immediate need. When emergency or short-term safety net assistance is granted, the district may accept a deed for real property and/or a mortgage pursuant to section 106 of the Social Services Law as security for the value of assistance granted. The months in which any individual receives recurring emergency safety net assistance, must count against the two-year (twenty-four month) cumulative total of safety net cash assistance in accordance with section 370.4(b)(1) of this Title. Recurring emergency safety net assistance is assistance authorized for a time period to meet the continuing needs of the applicant rather than assistance authorized on a one-time basis.

(f) Mass emergency assistance. When emergency needs occur on a mass basis, such as the need for mass feeding or clothing distribution and other essential items, these needs must be considered as emergency and short-term and provided for in accordance with subdivision (a) of this section. Names of persons requesting such assistance must be recorded on form DSS-880, Register of Application and Authorization for Emergency Assistance. This form constitutes their application. The DSS-880, when signed by the local social services official, serves as the authorization of such assistance.

(g) Town social service officer. When application is made to a town social service officer, he or she may make an emergency grant of safety net assistance and immediately forward the application to the county department of social services for investigation. Such investigation must be completed as promptly as possible, at least within 30 days.



VOLUME A-1 (Title 18)