Benefits, Services, Financial Assistance

Assistive and Adaptive Equipment

Finger Lakes Independence Center

Try it room, ramps, loans

Wonderful Wheelchairs

Guthrie Medical Supply Depot



Catholic Charities

Free clothing closet, diapers, personal care



Social Security Administration

SSA receives, processes, makes determination on, and administers SSI and SSDI.

Ithaca Social Security Office

Benefits Education through the Finger Lakes Independence Center (FLIC)

Services include: Assistance applying for benefits, Information and analysis about benefits and entitlements already received, Information about the SSA’s Ticket to Work Program, Accurate information about the impact of employment on all benefits, Assistance ensuring proper reporting of income and work activity, Proper planning for the transition from benefits to financial independence, Assistance utilizing available work incentives, Referral to appropriate community organizations, And more!


Financial Assistance

Cash & Emergency Assistance 

Cash Assistance programs provide financial help to families and individuals as well as some emergency assistance. Income eligibility standards and benefit levels vary depending on the household situation.

Catholic Charities

Our Samaritan Center provides emergency financial assistance to low income and vulnerable people. Please call ahead to make an appointment to request specific help. The types of assistance we provide include:

Security Deposits for Housing, Utility Payments, Bus passes or gas vouchers available for school, medical appointments, or the first few weeks before a paycheck at a new job, Emergency Prescriptions



SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

SNAP Application Assistance

We can help you sign up for SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps.)
At our Tompkins and Tioga offices we provide free and confidential pre-screenings in person or over the phone to help determine if you are eligible for SNAP, provide assistance with filling out the SNAP application, help clients understand the documentation needed, offer home visits for elderly and disabled people so they do not have to leave their home to receive SNAP assistance

Foodnet Meals on Wheels

Foodnet Meals on Wheels’ mission is to provide meals and other nutrition services that promote dignity, well-being and independence for older adults and other persons in need in Tompkins County.

Foodnet Meals on Wheels is the only local agency that delivers hot meals directly to clients. We have a Registered Dietitian that provides meal planning, nutrition assessment, counseling and education. We deliver your meals directly to your door or at one of the congregate meal sites: Titus Towers (Ithaca), Woodsedge Apartments (Lansing), Center Village Court (Groton), and First Baptist Church (Trumansburg).

Food Pantries and Meals

Calendar and map are available.

Mutual Aid Food Sharing

There are a few dozen food sharing sites throughout the Ithaca area.  Anyone can contribute. Anyone can take what they need.


Health Care

(See Physical and Mental Health Resources)


Health Insurance

Health Care Navigators through the Human Services Coalition

Our Health Insurance Navigators are here to help you find health insurance that meets the needs of you and your family. Navigators will assist you with enrolling into quality health coverage through the NY State of Health.

Understand your insurance options, Complete an application, Renew health insurance ,Find out about eligibility for free or low-cost plans, Make changes to your plan if your situation changes

New York State of Health

The New York Health Plan Marketplace

Medicaid: Department of Social Services

Office of the Aging

The Office for the Aging is happy to assist you with health insurance questions or concerns. Our staff can answer questions regarding such programs as Medicare, Medicaid, EPIC, QMB, SLMB, as well as others. Staff at the Office for the Aging work in conjunction with the HIICAP program at Lifelong to meet the needs of seniors with health insurance problems or questions.

Community Health Advocates through the Human Services Coalition

The Community Health Advocates (CHA) Program helps consumers to understand how to fully use their health insurance or find affordable health services and prescription medicines. Our clients include consumers who have public or private insurance as well as people with limited or no insurance.

CHA staff provides one-on-one assistance with: Medical billing problems, Coverage denials and eligibility determinations, Prior authorizations for specialists or out-of-network services, Finding lower cost prescription medicines, Appeals


Heating Assistance

Home Energy Assistance Program

This Federal program helps low-income households meet the high costs of home energy. Income and resource eligibility standards change annually. A single annual benefit based on the household’s method of heating is provided. Emergency assistance is also available.

Energy Services through Tompkins Community Action



24-Hour Homeless Emergency Hotline:   273-354-8990

Emergency Shelter:  St. John’s Community Services  354-8990

Tompkins Community Action

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), homeless housing solutions, family self-sufficiency, home ownership

Ithaca Housing Authority

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), public housing


INHS is dedicated to expanding housing opportunities for low and moderate-income residents of Tompkins County and the surrounding region. It seeks to foster communities that embrace diversity, equity, and sustainability in ways that produce lasting outcomes.


Legal Assistance

Legal Assistance of Western NY

Services include:  Landlord/Tenant, Foreclosures, SSD/SSI, Public Benefits, Unemployment Insurance Benefits


Personal Care

Finger Lakes Independence Center


Pet Expenses

Low cost spay and neuter

Rabies vaccination clinics for dogs, cats, and ferrets

Food: Alley Cat Cafe and the SPCA both have free food distribution programs.



Reduced Fares on TCAT

If you are 60 years old or older or if you are a Medicare cardholder or if you have a disability or if you receive SSI, SSD, or disabled veterans benefits than you are eligible to pay half-fare or 75¢ per ride on any TCAT bus. (This does not apply to Gadabout or ADA paratransit services.) When you board the bus, the bus operator may ask you for proof of eligibility in order to pay half fare. Acceptable forms of proof of eligibility are your Medicare card, Senior Citizen’s Discount Card, drivers’ license or your TCAT half-fare identification card (purple card)

In order to obtain your TCAT Half-Fare Identification card, please complete the half-fare application and return it to the TCAT office. Please be sure to include a copy of any document that verifies eligibility. Required documentation is a copy of your rewards letter from Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, or a copy of your Veterans Affairs Benefits. If you are applying for this benefit on age, please supply a copy of drivers’ license, or other documentation showing date of birth. Other acceptable forms of proof are a copy of your Medicare card or Senior Citizen’s Discount Card.

TCAT Complimentary Paratransit

Services through Gadabout. ADA Paratransit requires eligibility certification from TCAT.

Disabled vehicle plates through the DMV

Parking Permits through the City of Ithaca



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