Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF)


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Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with children (EAF) was first established in 1967 under the federal welfare law. The federal EAF program, along with AFDC, was eliminated with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Both were replaced by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant program. The New York State EAF program continues to be funded under TANF and is intended to meet the temporary emergency needs of families with children, which if not met, would endanger the health, safety or welfare of that family.


At the federal level the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has federal oversight and the New York State Department of Family Assistance/Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has state oversight for the EAF program. , In NYC, the Human Resources Administration (HRA)/Family Independence Administration (FIA) is the administrating agency. The local offices in NYC that administer EAF are called Job Centers, refer to Cash Benefits, Cash Assistance, Government Contacts.


Emergency Assistance to Families is federally funded through the Temporary Assistance to Families (TANF) block grant and by New York State and local funds.

Summary of Emergency Assistance to Families

Emergency Assistance to Families with Children (EAF) is a federally funded program which provides a cash grant to deal with a crisis situation threatening a family with a child(ren), and to meet urgent needs resulting from a sudden occurrence or set of circumstances requiring immediate attention. EAF grants are available to non-Cash Assistance households (typically called “one shot deals”). Households in receipt of Cash Assistance may be eligible for an emergency assistance grant, if the need of the recipient is not met by an “additional allowance”, for which the household may be eligible. Refer to Cash Benefits, Cash Assistance, Additional Allowances for more information.)

To qualify for an EAF grant, the applying household must meet the program’s eligibility criteria, which include the presence of a minor child(ren), the existence of an emergency, which must be a result of a sudden catastrophic occurrence or situation which threatens family stability and that was unforeseen and beyond the individual’s control (although this is not a requirement for obtaining utility arrears), and the assistance is necessary to avoid destitution of the child. Households must also meet citizenship/immigration requirements, residency, and financial requirements. When determining financial eligibility for EAF, a household’s available income on the date of application, must be at, or below, 200% of the federal poverty level for that household size. There are no resource guidelines, however the household’s resources will be evaluated to determine if there are sufficient resources to meet the emergency.

If a household intends to apply for ongoing CA in addition to an EAF grant the household will be evaluated under the CA eligibility guidelines, refer to Cash Benefits, Cash Assistance, Qualifying for Cash Assistance.

In NYC, households apply for EAF at the local Job Center. EAF grants are issued to meet a one-time emergency therefore there are no recertification requirements.