MELS UPDATE: Replacing Lost Income, Short Term Disability, Public Assistance, Food Stamps, Workers’ Comp and Unemployment Insurance  

DC 37 Municipal Employees Legal Services, MELS, provides information on benefits members can access to replace lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Members who are unable to continue working because of illness or disability may be eligible for short term disability, public assistance and food stamps.

The weekly disability benefit available through H&S for Full Time workers is 66.2/3 of their salary, up to a maximum of $200 per week for a maximum period of 26 weeks, but no longer than a member remains totally disabled.

The weekly disability benefit available through H&S for Part Time workers is 66 2/3 of their salary, up to a maximum of $98 per week for a maximum period of 13 weeks, but no longer than a member remains totally disabled.

Members may apply for short term disability benefits by completing the online application available on the DC 37 website.

Additional information on H&S short term disability is available on the DC 37 website.


Members may also apply for public assistance benefits and food stamps to provide them with income pending the determination of their short term disability claim and/or to supplement short term disability benefits they may receive.

Public assistance offers semi-monthly cash payments and a shelter allowance based on household size and the amount of other household income. Food stamps, now known as SNAP, is also based on household size and income.

Members may apply for public assistance and food stamps online by following the links on the HRA website.


Members living in NYCHA public housing who receive public assistance are eligible to have their monthly rent reduced to the shelter allowance they receive.

This rent reduction remains in place for one year after public assistance benefits end. A partial increase is then phased in during the second year. This rent reduction benefit is available only once.

Members may contact MELS by calling 212-815-1111 or email for more information.


DC 37 urges its members, especially those classified as essential workers, frontline workers, and healthcare workers, who have contracted and are diagnosed with novel coronavirus, COVID-19, to apply for Workers’ Compensation to secure partial wage replacement and medical care.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has extended the window to file a claim by an additional 30 days from the date of your injury or illness. The Workers’ Compensation Board has not changed its rules or application process.

Any DC 37 member seeking to file a Workers’ Comp claim must notify their agency within 30 days of testing Positive for COVID-19 and provide medical documentation to substantiate their claim. Members must also file a C-3 form with the NYS Worker’s Compensation Board by telephone or electronically.

DC 37 does not provide legal representation in Workers’ Compensation matters. However, we are advising members to file Workers’ Compensation paperwork if you contracted COVID-19 on the job or in the line of duty. The maximum Workers’ Comp benefit is $934.11 per week.

To file a Workers’ Compensation claim, follow the directions at this link.

H&S short-term disability benefits may be available for members who have filed Workers’ Compensation claims. To determine eligibility, see the DC 37 website

DC 37 does not provide legal representation in Workers’ Comp claims. Members are free to choose any attorney you wish to represent you in a Workers’ Comp claim. Members should contact their DC 37 union representative before selecting an attorney. A list of attorneys is available here.


New York State Unemployment Insurance Benefits provide a partial wage replacement of up to $504 per week for a 26-week period. Under the CARES Act, the benefit period has temporarily been extended an additional 13 weeks and recipients receive an additional $600 per week. Applicants who have worked in New York must apply for UIB in New York regardless of the state in which they reside.

Under the CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Insurance benefits are available for self-employed independent contractors and gig-economy workers even if they are denied regular New York State unemployment benefits.
Follow the directions at this link.


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