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What is Jiggetts?

How can Jiggetts help?

Jiggetts is rent assistance for some people with children who receive public assistance, whose rent is higher than the welfare grant (“shelter allowance”). With Jiggetts relief, your shelter allowance may be raised to pay more of the rent, as well as some or all of your back rent.

Who can apply?

You may be able to apply if you answer YES to all these questions:

  • Are you eligible for public assistance?
  • Do you have at least one child living with you who is under 18 (sometimes under 19 if the child is still in high school)?
  • Are you being sued for back rent in Housing Court?
  • Is your rent higher than the welfare rent grant?

What are the Jiggetts rules?

  • Most people in your home must pay some money toward the rent.
  • People who are on SSI or Social Security, or people who are working and aren’t on the public assistance budget, or children for whom you receive child support, must contribute toward the rent.
  • If people in your home have no income, they must get on public assistance.
  • No one on your public assistance budget can be sanctioned.
  • There is a limit to how much will be paid for the back rent. If you owe too much back rent, you will not be eligible for Jiggetts relief for that apartment, and you will have to look for a cheaper apartment.
  • There is a limit to how much monthly rent will be paid. If your monthly rent is too high, you will have to find a cheaper apartment.
  • If the rent is too high, sometimes you can provide a “third party” outside the home who works “on the books” and has pay stubs to prove that he/she can pay the excess rent.

How can I apply?

You cannot apply on your own. In Brooklyn you may apply at the Legal Aid Society (718-722-3100), or at a legal services office (call 718-237-5500 to find out which office covers your neighborhood) or at one of the following organizations:

CAMBA (Church Avenue Merchants Block Association)
214 Livingston Street, Room 108
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718 ) 237-6329

Brooklyn Tenants Council
415 Albemarle Rd.
Brooklyn, NY 11218
(718) 435-7585

How does Jiggetts work?

If you are approved for Jiggetts, your welfare center will issue checks for the back rent (all or part depending on how much you are entitled to), and they will change your budget to increase the amount paid to your landlord each month. Your food stamps will be reduced. You may be recouped for part of the back rent paid.

What happens after I am approved for Jiggetts?

The welfare center will continue to pay the higher amount each month. BUT if one of the following happens, you will lose your Jiggetts relief:

  • If your public assistance case is closed
  • If you or another member of your household is sanctioned
  • If you or another member of your household goes off public assistance and begins working
  • If you or another member of your household goes off public assistance and begins receiving SSI or Social Security
  • If you move to another apartment
  • If another person joins your household, or if a baby is born into your household

If I used to have Jiggetts relief, but I don’t have it any more, can I get it back? What if my rent increases (goes up)?

You might be eligible to get your Jiggetts relief back if you qualify. If your rent increases, you might be able to apply for an increase in your Jiggetts relief.

Is Jiggetts relief permanent?

No, Jiggetts is temporary. The state welfare department may change the system in the future. Also, some families who have already received public assistance for five years are placed in a category called “Safety Net Assistance,” and their eligibility for Jiggetts relief is more limited.

This article was posted April 01, 2007