Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert

If you are experiencing sudden changes to your household budget or income due to COVID-19, financial counselors can help you:

  • Manage your money and set up a spending plan
  • Contact creditors about existing loans, including student loans
  • Draft letters to creditors to lower payments or temporarily suspend payments due to hardship
  • Develop a strategy to minimize debt
  • Access local, state, and federal emergency resources 

Financial Empowerment Centers are not providing in-person assistance until further notice, but you can still schedule an appointment to speak with a financial counselor by phone. You'll need to sign up for a Financial Empowerment Portal account first.

Sign up and book an appointment online.

Need something else?

The Ready to Rent program is run by the NYC Departments of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in partnership with Ariva. You can schedule a financial counseling appointment to help you submit a stronger affordable housing application.

While financial counseling does not impact your placement in any affordable housing lottery, it can put you in a better financial position to obtain affordable housing.

Through HPD’s Housing Ambassador Program you can contact a community-based service provider who can assist you in finding and applying for affordable housing through HPD’s Housing Connect website. Both services are free and confidential, and assistance is available in multiple languages.

Learn more about the Ready to Rent program.

As part of the City’s Ready to Rent program, you can contact a Housing Ambassador for free education and assistance with Housing Preservation and Development’s and Housing Development Corporation’s Affordable Housing Lottery Applications.

A Housing Ambassador can assist you with searching for affordable housing opportunities and applying for housing lotteries through the City’s Housing Connect website.

You can get locations, hours, and contact information for Housing Ambassadors and Housing Ambassadors for People with Disabilities.

You can schedule a financial counseling appointment to help you submit a stronger affordable housing application. 

Counselors can help you:

  • Check your credit.
  • Calculate your income for housing applications.
  • Save for moving expenses.
  • Create a household budget.
  • Reduce your debt.

Financial counseling is free and confidential.

Counselors speak multiple languages.


Book an appointment online.

By Phone

  • Agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
  • Division: Ready to Rent Financial Counseling Help Desk
  • Phone Number: (718) 690-9873
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, eligible individuals and families will receive Economic Impact Payments (stimulus payments) of up to $1,200 (for single filers) and $2,400 (for married couples filing jointly) plus an additional $500 for each dependent child under age 17.

To be eligible:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or resident alien.
  • You must have a valid Social Security number (SSN).
  • You must have Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in 2019 that is under $99,000 (single filer) and $198,000 (joint filers).
  • You cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

You will receive an automatic payment if you:

  • Filed your 2018 and/or 2019 tax return before April 13, 2020 and meet the income criteria.
  • Do not file a tax return but receive:
    • Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation and Pension benefits
    • Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits (includes retirement and Social Security Disability Income)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits
    • Survivors benefits (VA, SSA, RRB)

If you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes and included your banking information for direct deposit, the payment will be deposited in your bank account.

The deadline to submit banking information for direct deposit was Wednesday, May 13th. You can no longer request direct deposit. You will get payment by mail.

If you will not receive an automatic payment, you must take action by October 15, 2020 to receive your stimulus payment this year.

This may mean:

  • Filing a tax return OR
  • Registering for your payment as a “non-filer” on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website if you are not required to file a tax return because your income was too low:
    • Under $12,200 (single filer)
    • Under $24,400 (joint filers)

NYC Free Tax Prep can guide you.

Note: The income tax filing deadline was July 15, 2020. You can still file your tax return for free using NYC Free Tax Prep through October 15, 2020. If you owe the government money, be aware that late filing penalties apply.

Prepaid Debit Card

Some people will receive their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check. These Economic Impact Payment Cards arrive in a plain envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services. The Visa name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank. The card will come with instructions on how to activate and use it. 

Those who receive Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card can do the following without any fees:

  • Make purchases online and at any retail location where Visa is accepted
  • Get cash from in-network ATMs
  • Transfer funds to their personal bank account
  • Check their card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone


Read "What You Need to Know About Economic Impact Payments."

Learn more about Economic Impact Payment Cards.

Check the status of your stimulus payment.

By Phone

  • Agency: United States Department of the Treasury
  • Division: Economic Impact Payment Hotline
  • Phone Number: (800) 919-9835
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 7 AM - 7 PM