Nassau County is a US county located in the state of New York. It has approximately 1.3 million people living there and is considered one of the wealthier counties found in America.
The annual median income of Nassau county is estimated to be nearly $55,000 higher than the rest of the counties in the US average incomes. However, like all counties, poverty and other social service needs still exist.
Here’s a helpful guide on what Nassau County’s Department of Social Services has to offer.
What is the Nassau County Department of Social Services?
The Nassau County Department of Social Services provides its residents with a wide range of helpful services. Their goal is to keep families together and help them stay strong. They do so by providing financial assistance and helping them with other essential living needs, following federal and state laws and regulations.
Here are the responsibilities of the Nassau County Department of Social Services:
- Ensure that the mandates of New York State Social Services Law are getting enforced to protect adults, children, and their families.
- Providing programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), Home Energy Assistance Programs, and other forms of help, including Medicaid, family assistance, child care, employment, and safety nets. It also makes sure that these are easily accessible to eligible people.
- Making sure that child support payments are being made by those who are under obligation to do so. Enforcing the collection of those child support payments and modifying existing orders accordingly.
- They provide their services without judgment regarding age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religious or spiritual beliefs, culture, race, ethnicity, or nationality.
What services do they provide?
Here are what services and programs that the Nassau County Department of Social Services has to offer its residents:
Medicaid is a program for adults who are unable to pay for expenses in regards to medical care. The federal government made it to cover all health and medical necessities and emergencies that meet specific criteria. It can also provide coverage for special medical assistance such as CDPAP or skilled nursing facilities to eligible patients.
Here’s who can qualify and apply for Medicaid:
- Women who are pregnant
- Children and infants
- Parents or relatives in caretaker positions
- People with disabilities who aren’t already on Medicare
- Any adult over the age of 18 and under the age of 65
Here’s a list of what Medicaid pays for:
- Medical and health insurance premium
- Clinic and physician services
- Outpatient care at hospitals
- Inpatient care in hospitals
- Long term home health care
- Personal care aides
- Skilled nursing home care
- Pharmacy prescriptions
- Family planning
- Child teen health program
- Mental health
Emergency transportation to and from medical facilities and services is also paid for by Medicaid. Medicaid can also pay for non-emergency transit under certain circumstances.
The Department must pre-approve of the non-emergency situations for it to be covered or reimbursed. This ensures that transportation (public transit, taxi, private vehicle, ambulance, etc.) is medically appropriate for the patient and that it is the lowest cost option.
Medicaid for children (Child Health Plus)
Child Health Plus is a part of the Medicaid program that ensures that children under the age of 19 get the medical care and services they need.
Here’s a list of what Child Health Plus pays for:
- Well-child care
- speech, hearing, and vision care
- Dental care
- Diagnosis and treatment of illness and injury
- Physical exams
- X-rays and lab tests
- Durable medical equipment
- Prescription drugs
- Outpatient surgery
- Inpatient hospital medical or surgical care
- Short-term therapeutic outpatient services (chemotherapy, hemodialysis)
- Limited outpatient treatment for alcoholism, substance abuse, and mental health
Some people enrolled in Medicaid will have to join Medicaid Managed Care. This health plan combines the services of medical facilities and health practitioners.
This established health plan aims to make it easier to manage the health care of the people enrolled in Medicaid.
Nassau County provides Medicaid beneficiaries with seven different health plans. It includes:
- EMPIRE BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD HEALTHPLUS
- WELL CARE
- AMERCHOICE BY UNITED HEALTHCARE
To learn more about Medicaid, check out this FAQ page for more info.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Those enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receive an electronic card with their ID number. They can then use that card at several different stores to pay for groceries.
The purpose of this program is to ensure low-income households can still feed themselves with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
The only way to truly know if you qualify to become a member of the SNAP program is to apply. Once your application is submitted, the program coordinators will make a household budget based on family size and average household income.
Here are the maximum benefit allowances based on household size:
1 person — $204
2 people — $374
3 people — $535
4 people — $680
5 people — $807
6 people — $969
7 people — $1071
8 people — $1224
+ $153 for each additional member
*Note that eligibility and benefit amount received all depend on the family budget created for your household
For further questions regarding this program, take a look at the SNAP FAQ page.
Child Care Assistance
Another way that Nassau County’s Department of Social Services helps its residents is by offering child care assistance. Several options for child care assistance are made available to those who need it throughout Nassau County.
Free daycare and other free or low-cost child care forms are available to anyone enrolled in the Temporary Assistance program.
If the income guidelines for subsidies get met, working families may also receive this benefit.
When children cannot live at home with their birth parents, they get placed into a safe, temporary living situation called foster care. If they cannot return home to their birth parents for whatever reason, they possibly get put up for adoption.
In the Nassau County Department of Social Services, Foster and Adoptive Resource Development and Homefinding are the units that handle foster and adoptive matters.
They are responsible for the recruitment, studies, training, approval/certification, development, retainment, and reapproval/recertification of all foster and adoptive families.
Child Protection Services, Preventative Services, The Department’s Information, Resources, and Referral Unit, and the Courts are four of the units responsible for the following:
- The stabilization of placements.
- Ensuring every child’s needs get met.
- Managing birth child/parent visitations.
- Helping parents reunite with their children as quickly and effectively as possible by providing them with referral services and immediate concrete casework counseling.
- Dealing with children free for adoption when they are unable to return to their birth parents.
- Referring older children cannot return to birth parents or be adopted to independent living programs that allow them to learn the skills necessary to live independently.
How the Nassau County Department of Social Services supports foster parents
Support for foster and adoptive families is offered by:
- Providing ongoing training and caseworker support.
- Having special services for the children in care arranged.
- Making sure everyone’s needs get met with financial and medical coverage.
- Providing a 24-hour emergency service.
- Encouraging memberships in the Foster/Adoptive Parent’s Association.
Who is a foster parent?
A foster parent is someone who opens up their home and heart to children who need a temporary safe place to live when unable to live with their birth families.
Here’s the role of a foster parent:
- Being someone who wants to make a difference in a child’s life.
- Opens their home and welcomes children who are in need into their life.
- A team player and cooperates with social workers, birth families, and other professionals.
- They can easily handle stressful situations and is very flexible.
- It helps prepare children to return home to their birth families, get adopted, or transition into independent living.
- Is open to the possibility of becoming an adoptive parent.
Who can become a foster parent?
You can become a foster parent if you meet the following criteria:
- You are at least 21 years old
- You are married, single, or living with a partner
- Your own family’s needs are already met with sufficient income
- You are in good health
- You’re able to provide each child with their own bed
- You can make room in your home and show love to children who need a temporary safe place to live
How you can become a foster parent
To become a foster/adoptive parent, you will need to complete the following:
- Complete an application and other paperwork such as a child abuse clearance form
- Get fingerprinting done
- Attend an orientation session and training classes
- Participate in a home study
- Provide current medical records
- Provide personal references
Temporary Cash Assistance
Temporary Assistance (TA) is for adults and children in need of quick financial support. TA could also possibly help cover your expenses if you can’t work, are unable to find a job, or your current job doesn’t pay enough for you to get by.
There are two major temporary assistance programs; Family Assistance (FA) and Safety Net Assistance (SNA).
Family Assistance (FA) operates under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines. It helps needy families with a minor child living with a parent or caretaker relative in the same household.
Cash assistance is provided to eligible adults until the 60-month limit gets reached. Once the 60-month limit has gotten reached, that adult and all other people living in their household cannot receive any more FA benefits.
Safety Net Assistance
The Safety Net Assistance (SNA) program was made for those who do not meet the requirements to be eligible for FA SNA may provide cash assistance to:
- Single Adults
- Children who live apart from any adult relative/caretaker
- Couples without children
- The families of those found to be abusing drugs or alcohol
- The families of those refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment, or treatment
- Aliens who are eligible for TA but who aren’t eligible for federal reimbursement
If you get determined to be able to work, you must comply with the work requirements to receive the benefits offered by SNA.
In general, you will be able to receive cash assistance from SNA for two years maximum out of your lifetime. If you are still eligible after your two years are up, SNA will provide service in non-cash ways. Non-cash assistance can come in the form of vouchers or direct payments to your landlord or utility company.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program. It was made to help people with low incomes pay for high-priced home energy costs. It may be available to both people who pay for home energy separately or have it as a part of their renters’ agreement.
Eligibility for HEAP and what benefits you may receive are based on:
- Your household income
- The size of your household
- What your primary heating source is
- If someone under the age of 6, over the age of 60, or permanently disabled is living in your household
With the help of the Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), the Department of Social Services (DSS) provides emergency housing assistance and shelter placements to those in need.
Individuals and families eligible will be provided with shelter and other necessary items to meet their needs on an emergency, temporary basis. The goal is to ensure that those in need have the proper tools to find secure, permanent housing and to be able to become a stable, self-sufficient part of the community quickly.
Families or individuals who receive threats of eviction or foreclosure may be eligible for assistance to save their current housing. Three emergency programs exist:
How can I sign up for these services?
Here’s how you can sign up and apply for each of the services listed above.
You may apply for Medicaid in the following ways:
- NY. The state of Health, The Official Health Plan Marketplace (855) 355-5777
- Managed Care Organization (MCO)
- Navigators and Certified Application Counselors
- Medicaid Helpline (800) 541-2831
- Local District Social Services Offices
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
You can apply for SNAP in the following ways:
- myBenefits website
- Mail-in your application which may be obtained by calling (516) 227-8523
- Come into office location during regular business hours.
Child Care Assistance
You can get more information on what types of child care is available throughout Nassau County by calling the Day Care New Applications unit at 516-227-7976.
Please contact the Child Care Council of Nassau County to get free child care resources and referral information.
For parents who want to know about what free child care services get offered by the Nassau County Department of Social Services, you can contact them by:
If you would like to inquire about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please call 516-227-7613
You can also contact the main office to find out information about foster and adoptive care services by calling 516-227-8346
Temporary Cash Assistance
To apply for TA, you can fill out this form and file it at the Nassau County Department of Social Services office.
You can also apply online at myBenefits.ny.gov.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
During the HEAP season, you can submit your applications for Regular HEAP online at myBenefits.
Applicants who are ages 60 and over and those who are permanently disabled may apply for regular HEAP by mail to:
60 Charles Lindbergh Blvd.
Uniondale, NY 11553
All others (including those aged 60 and over or permanently disabled, with an emergency) may apply in person or by mail to:
175 Fulton Avenue
Hempstead, New York 11550
To get a referral for temporary emergency housing, contact:
EMERGENCY SERVICES: 516-573-8626
4:00 pm – 8:00 am Monday – Friday
8:00 am – 8:00 am weekends and holidays
You can find the Nassau County Department of Social Services office located at:
60 Charles Lindbergh Boulevard
Uniondale, NY 11553-3656
General Information: 516-227-8519
After-Hours Services: 516-573-8626
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.