The Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS) is again promoting remote service delivery options to meet community needs while reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission among clients and staff. There are many ways in which Erie County residents can access social welfare benefits and services from the safety of their homes. In-person visits to ECDSS offices are only necessary in very limited circumstances, such as homelessness and immediate lack of food. All visitors to County offices must wear a mask.
ECDSS offers the following remote service channels to ensure that social welfare programs and services are accessible to the most vulnerable Erie County residents without the need to travel to County offices.
HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program): Community members may apply for regular HEAP online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov, download an application at www.erie.gov/heap, request an application by calling 716-858-7644, or request an application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The HEAP Emergency Assistance Program opened January 3rd. The only remote option to apply for Emergency HEAP assistance is to call the hotline at 716-858-7644. After hours, call 211 for assistance.
Temporary (Cash) Assistance: Apply online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov, download an application at www.erie.gov/temporaryassistance, request an application online at www.erie.gov/temporaryassistance, or call 716-858-8000 to request an application and a postage paid return envelope. Paper applications for Temporary Assistance are available in the entryway of 158 Pearl Street, and completed applications may be dropped off in the drop box in the lobby of 158 Pearl Street. Eligibility interviews are now conducted by phone. Appointment letters with the date and time of telephone interviews are mailed to applicants.
Emergency Services: Visit www.erie.gov/emergencyTA to learn about the types of assistance available. Eligibility interviews are conducted by telephone the same day applications are received. Paper applications for Emergency Services programs are available in the lobby of 460 Main Street, and completed applications may be deposited in the drop box in the lobby.
SNAP (Food Stamps): Apply online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov, download an application at www.erie.gov/snap, or request an application by calling 716-858-7239. Paper applications for SNAP benefits are available in the entryway of 158 Pearl Street, and completed applications may be dropped off in the drop box in the lobby of 158 Pearl Street. Eligibility interviews are now conducted by phone. Appointment letters with the date and time of telephone interviews are mailed to applicants.
Day Care Assistance: Applications for day care assistance are available online, or by calling 716-858-8953. Paper application packets are available in the entryway of 95 Franklin Street, and completed applications may be deposited in the drop box in the same location.
Mobile Document Upload: ECDSS accepts documentation from clients via the NYDocSubmit app. NYDocSubmit is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The app allows users to photograph a document and upload it to the Department along with identifying case information. Documentation can be accepted on Temporary (Cash) Assistance, SNAP, Community Medicaid, and HEAP cases. While applications should be submitted through the usual channels, documents such as landlord statements, proof of identity, and proof of income may be submitted through NYDocSubmit. More information about Mobile Document Upload is available here.
Office of Child Support Enforcement: Clients may reach the Office of Child Support Enforcement via email at email@example.com or by calling 716-858-2001 or 888-208-4485. Customer service inquiry forms can be found in the lobby of the Rath Building (95 Franklin Street, Buffalo). Completed forms may be placed in the drop box in the same location.
Adult Protective Services: Any concerned person, family member, friend, neighbor, law enforcement officer, health professional, clergy or financial institution employee who observes an individual having difficulty in providing for their most basic needs; such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or personal safety are urged to call Adult Services at 716-858-6877 to inquire about making a referral.
Child Welfare Services: Concerns about the safety of any child in our community may be reported to the Statewide Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect at 800-342-3720. If an individual believes that a child is at imminent risk of harm, the call should be directed to 911.