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State steps in to help furloughed workers

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www2.Erie County.gov/socialservices
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Special measures are now in place to help furloughed federal workers, in the Buffalo area, and across the state. The Department of Labor has been directed to speed up the application process for unemployment benefits, utility companies are implementing special collection practices, and emergency assistance is also available.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the measures now in place will ensure furloughed federal workers can obtain the vital safety-net benefits they need during this hard time. Erie County Commissioner of Social Services Marie Cannon says emergency assistance is available for food, rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, and emergency home or heating repairs. Cannon says normally the guidelines are strict and income eligibility is very low.
    
"But because we're facing this kind of emergency it really is to help people immediately who are furloughed or working and not getting a paycheck," Cannon said.  

Under the governor's directive, affected workers don't need to deplete their resources. Cannon says they should apply right away - but they'll need basic documentation to start the process.  
    
"Photo ID, birth certificate, social security card, income - which are paystubs for the past four weeks, household composition and information about if they're renting or if they're a home owner," Cannon said.

For more information contact the Erie County Department of Social Services, 460 Main Street, Buffalo, at 858-8000. Major gas and electric utilities are also lending a hand. Affected federal workers are urged to contact their utility providers directly.