Solving the Public Benefit Puzzle

Chapter Listing


Welcome to Benefits Plus

Benefits Plus ® is the premier comprehensive, searchable online resource on over 80 different federal, state and local government benefit programs for social service professionals.

Written by experienced advocates, reviewed by legal experts, and updated regularly, Benefits Plus provides the information professionals need to better assist their clients. Professionals will learn how a program works, how to access the benefit and what steps to take when action is needed. Get all of this plus access to valuable resources, government contacts, and much more. Below are videos to help orient you to Benefits Plus.

Explore Benefits Plus!

If you are not a subscriber to Benefits Plus, you can tour it by clicking on any of the 9 different categories on the right. Each category contains chapters related to that category topic. When you click on a chapter, you will be able to view the chapter's outline, as well as open the “Overview” section.

Want to learn more? Want to participate in a webinar presentation of Benefits Plus? Contact the Benefits Plus Learning Center at

Click here for more information about Benefits Plus.

COVID-19 Resources

In an effort to better equip social service providers who are serving the public to effectively navigate COVID-19 resources and changes to the public benefit/housing systems, we have created a COVID-19 category in our Benefits Plus resource manual. The information found in the COVID-19 category is available at no cost from the Community Service Society of New York, thus both subscribers and non-subscribers may access this information. However, only Benefits Plus subscribers have access to the entire Benefits Plus content. For more information contact Rachael Molina at or 212-614-5338.

Benefits Plus Updates

Originally published in January 2010 Benefits Plus® is updated regularly throughout the calendar year as changes occur in a program's guidelines or procedures.

The chart below lists a few of the most recent updates; not all updates are listed below. To view all updates/changes since publication, go to an individual chapter (for example, Cash Assistance), click on a section (for example, Qualifying for Cash Assistance). Once there, click on "Show updates" in the upper right hand corner of the blue header to reveal the current year's updates, additions, revisions, and corrections, if any, that have been made to that section since publication.

To view updates in prior years, click on a selected year. In addition, experts in the subject area periodically review the individual chapters; this information is found under "Show updates" listed as "Expert Review Date".

Chapter Last Updated Change
Expansion of Unemployment Insurance: Changes under COVID-19 January 2021

Pandemic Unemployment Compensation: Updated information on the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit with the passage of the recent Stimulus package.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) January 2021

Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income: Updated the SSI federal benefit amount, SGA, the student exclusions and the Presumed Maximum Value for 2021.

Description of Supplemental Security Income: Updated the SSI federal benefit amount.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) January 2021

Applying for SNAP: Added the new simplified SNAP application for those age 60 and over, as well as the disabled.

Food Access and Programs January 2021

SNAP: Changes Under COVID-19: Updated SNAP Benefit Amount.

SNAP: Changes Under COVID-19: Updated waiver extension for conducting eligibility interviews via phone, as well as telephone signatures to March 31, 2021.

Employment Programs & Rights January 2021

Youth: Updated NYS minimum wage.

Overview: Updated NYS minimum wage.

Cash Benefits December 2020

Cash Assistance: Changes under COVID-19: Updated waiver extension for conducting eligibility interviews via phone, as well as telephone signatures to March 31, 2021.

Cash Assistance: Changes under COVID-19:

Public Housing December 2020

Description of Public Housing: Revised entire section.

Medicaid December 2020

Medicaid Managed Care Provisions: Updated information on a new lock-in period when switching partially capitated managed long-term care plans.

Housing Programs & Services December 2020

Rent Relief: Under COVID-19: Added information on reopening of NYS’ COVID Rent Relief Program.

Health Benefits December 2020

Medicaid: Changes under COVID-19: Updated information regarding extension of Medicaid renewals.

Medicaid: Changes under COVID-19: Updated information on the carve out of the nursing home care benefit from partially capitated Medicaid Managed Long Term Care Plans.