Center for Specialized Services
Linda Glassman, Deputy Commissioner
The Center for Specialized Services consists of four bureaus/divisions, all of which provide services targeted to impoverished persons with special needs and/or circumstances. They are as follows:
Bureau of Housing and Support Services (BHSS)
The Bureau of Housing and Support Services administers an array of programs to address the problems of homelessness in the State. These range from programs which prevent homelessness to the actual construction of housing for homeless individuals and families. Other programs provide essential services to homeless persons to stabilize their housing situation and increase their levels of self-sufficiency.
BHS administers the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program (HHAP), as well as a range of support services programs for homeless and at risk families and individuals, including the Homelessness Intervention Program, Supplemental Homelessness Intervention Program, Single Room Occupancy Support Services Program, Emergency Shelter Grants Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program, Supported Housing for Families and Young Adults, and the Operational Support for AIDS Housing Program.
Bureau of Shelter Services (BSS)
The Bureau of Shelter Services is responsible for certification, oversight, and inspection of emergency shelters in New York State which serve more than 19 single homeless individuals or more than 10 homeless families. BSS works closely with the Bureau of Housing and Supportive Services to coordinate an entire continuum of care for homeless individuals and families with the goal of assisting them in attaining and maintaining housing stability.
Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (BRIA)
BRIA is New York State’s single point of contact on policy and programs for the implementation of services to refugees. The bureau’s Language Services Unit promotes access for Limited English Proficiency populations to benefits and services through translated materials. BRIA directs resources to local agencies under contract with OTDA to provide assistance to refugees and their families with employment and support services towards early economic and social self-sufficiency, to assure foster care for unaccompanied refugee minors, to assist victims of human trafficking, and to help repatriated U.S. citizens arrive home safely from abroad.
Division of Disability Determinations (DDD)
The primary responsibility of the Division of Disability Determinations is the medical adjudication of claims filed by state residents covered under Title II (Disability Insurance) and Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) of the Social Security Act. Program responsibilities are administered under the regulations, guidelines, and quality standards established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), as the disability program is 100 percent federally funded.
The division has processing centers in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Manhattan.
DDD staff determines whether a person has a disability based on medical and vocational factors relying primarily on written medical evidence provided by treating sources and/or consultant physicians. Disability determination decisions are processed through SSA for appropriate action on the provision of client benefits.
DDD also conducts disability hearings as part of its disability program responsibilities. Claimants are provided an opportunity for a face-to-face hearing following the proposed cessation of benefits because of a determination that the claimant is no longer disabled under SSA regulations. This hearing enables the claimant to personally provide new or updated information regarding the claim.