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> Social Services

Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services is responsible for providing benefits and services to sustain families and individuals and to assist them in achieving independence.

Financial and Emergency Assistance
Cash & Emergency Assistance - 274-5345
Appointments - 274-5348

Cash Assistance programs provide financial help to families and individuals as well as some emergency assistance. Income eligibility standards and benefit levels vary depending on the household situation.

Emergency Services
Housing Assistance - 274-5644
Domestic Violence - 274-5293

Food Assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

Previously known as Food Stamps, the Federal SNAP program provides low-income households monthly benefits to purchase food. Income and resource standards vary according to age, health, household size and household expenditures.

You or your authorized representative can apply for SNAP either online at or by completing a New York State-prescribed form manually and mailing it to or dropping it off at the Department of Social Services.

For more information, click here.

Medicaid Programs - Information - 274-5244

New York State of Health - 1-855-355-5777 or
Medicaid Transportation - 1-866-753-4543
Medicaid Managed Care - 274-5330

Medicaid is an income-based assistance program for the medically indigent. Income and resource standards vary depending on age, health, household size, and certain household expenditures. Depending on the type of medical services sought, some applicants will not need to provide resource information; or they may be able to provide written attestation of their household’s resources. Medicaid coverage ranges from skilled nursing home care to routine medical care. Medicaid may pay for health insurance premiums including Medicare. Partial Medicaid coverage is available in some situations.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

This Federal program helps low-income households meet the high costs of home energy.
Income and resource eligibility standards change annually.
A single annual benefit based on the household’s method of heating is provided.
Emergency assistance is also available.

Day Care Payment Assistance
Provider Registration, Inspections, and Complaints – 273-0259 (Child Development Council of Tompkins County)
Eligibility and Billing - 274-5237

Subsidized day care for children of low-income families and children placed with working foster parents.

Transportation Resources
If you are a client of the Department of Social Services, please contact your case manager for assistance. If you're unable to reach him or her, Information and Referral is staffed 24 hours a day and can be reached either by dialing 211 or at this website.  

Other transportation-related links which may be useful:  

Child Support Services
Child Support Unit - 1-888-208-4485

Assists custodial parents in the establishment of paternity for children born out of wedlock; works to establish court orders regarding child support responsibilities of non-custodial parents; enforces child support orders through collection methods which may include income executions against absent parents' wages and unemployment benefits and seizure of income tax refunds and lottery winnings; receives and disburses child support payments.

Child Abuse Emergency Number
1-800-342-3720 (NYS Hotline.  Toll-free, 24 hours/day)

Child Protective Services

CPS responds to reports of child abuse and maltreatment with an assessment or investigation and provides protective/preventive services to families and children.

Catholic Charities' Community Connections program (272-5062 extension 28) provides help & support for parents going through the CPS process and or who have had their children placed in foster care.

Foster Care Homefinding, Adoption & Post Adoption Services
Foster Homefinding – 274-5266
Adoption/Post Adoption Services – 274-5615 & 274-5285. 

Foster Care Services Unit provides recruitment and retention of qualified, caring families who are willing to provide temporary foster care and work with families toward reunification. Available for our certified foster families when children cannot return to their parents. Information, referral, and clinical support provided

Youth and Family Services

Temporary placement in foster homes, group homes, or institutions for children who temporarily cannot live at home. Provides preventive services to families, and court diversion services for youth.

Adult Protective Services

Investigates reports of abuse/neglect of adults, provides financial management, case management, and legal interventions necessary for the protection of at-risk adults.

Long Term Care Services

Tompkins Care Connection provides information and referral about long term care and other services such as home delivered meals, respite, and home health care.
The program also provides in-home assessments, in-home aide service, and PRI (Patient Review Instrument) assessments to determine the level of care and type of skilled nursing facility most appropriate for the individual.