OLEAN — Those receiving or applying for assistance from the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services are urged to call the department at (716) 373-8065 before coming into the office.

In an effort to protect community health during the COVID-19 pandemic, certain regulatory requirements have been changed to allow most business to be conducted by phone or through the use of online resources, Social Services Commissioner Anthony Turano said Monday.

Department staff will work with the public to do everything in their power to prevent an unnecessary office visit while continuing to provide all of the services needed — including emergency assistance — to help individuals and families through this difficult time.

“During this crisis, we know people are looking for help, including many people who have never applied for assistance before,” Turano said. “We are working with reduced staff and are doing everything we can to serve the public and to keep our workers safe. It’s really a balancing act.”

Applications for programs including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) , Heating and Energy Assistance (HEAP) and Temporary Assistance (TANF) can be found at www.mybenefits.ny.gov.

Those in need of applications for child support services are asked to call the child support helpline at (888) 208-4485. Those calling will be sent an application by mail. The application can also be obtained by visiting www.childsupport.ny.gov, where it can be printed, completed and submitted via mail to the Child Support Enforcement Unit at the address above.

Information on the New York State Medicaid program may be accessed by calling (855) 355-5777 or at www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov.

For more information regarding any of the programs referenced above call the Department of Social Services at (716) 373-8065.

For more information regarding COVID-19 concerns call the Cattaraugus County Emergency Operations Center at (716) 938-9119.