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NYS Administrative Directive Memorandum Prioritizes Education and Introduces Two Earned Income Disregards

Published on March 22, 2024 by Leslie Bailey

The 2023-24 New York State Budget created two new earned income disregard rules for Cash Assistance recipients.  In addition, the social services law was amended to require districts to approve participation in an educational and/or vocational training program, which includes, but is not limited to, a two-year post-secondary degree program. These new rules are detailed in NYS OTDA 23-ADM-09 and NYS OTDA 23-ADM-10, and have been in effect since December 29, 2023.  Below are some highlights.


Prior to the enactment of the FY24 State budget, there was no requirement for Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS)—known as the Human Resources Administration (HRA) in NYC — to approve employment plans for individuals seeking to participate in educational and/or vocational training programs. The law was amended and now requires districts to approve educational and/or vocational education training so long as the enrollment is appropriate and necessary for the individual to meet their employment goals.


In NY State, there are two new earned income disregards designed to support Cash Assistance recipients participating in employment or training activities or who start new jobs:

  • Training Income Disregard

  • One-time 100% Employment Income Disregard

Training Income Disregard

Qualified activities and programs for this exemption are determined by the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and are detailed in 23-ADM-10. 

Key takeaways are:

  • All the income earned from a work or training activity by a Cash Assistance recipient (not applicant) will be exempt, as long as the individual’s total gross income is not more than 200% of the FPL* for their household size (remaining household members’ income is not factored into this calculation).

  • This disregard does not apply to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. That is, all earned income will count and may result in a decrease in SNAP benefits.

One-time 100% Employment Income Disregard

The NY State budget also created a new rule to disregard 100% of earned income from Cash Assistance recipients (not applicant) who secure new employment. This disregard is available for a maximum of six consecutive months, once per lifetime, provided that the individual’s overall income does not exceed 200% of the FPL* for their household size.

For the purposes of this policy, only the newly employed individual’s income is compared to the FPL for their household size; the remaining household members’ income is not used in this calculation.

After the completion of the six-month time frame, regular earned income budgeting rules would apply.

This disregard does not apply to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. That is, all earned income will count and may result in a decrease in SNAP benefits.

* 2023 FPL will be used until June 2024. At that point 2024 FPL will be used.

Jennifer and her son are Cash Assistance recipients. On January 4, 2024, Jennifer starts a new job. She receives her first paycheck on January 18, 2024, which she reports on January 24, 2024. The new job will trigger her once-in-a-lifetime 100% Earned Income Disregard.

The Cash Assistance program will review Jennifer's income and determines her monthly gross income of $2,209 is below 200% FPL (*$3,287) for a household size of two.

The disregard will begin February 2024, the first monthly Cash Assistance budget after HRA receives proof of income.

The disregard will be in effect for six consecutive months, from February – July 2024.

In those six months she will receive a full Cash Assistance grant for a household size of two (as long as her income does not go above 200% FPL).

After the end of the 6-month timeframe, in August 2024, HRA will implement regular earned income budgeting disregards (see Blog post for details).  If Jennifer continues to earn a gross income of $2,209, using the regular budgeting rules, she will no longer be eligible for Cash Assistance.

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