YES uses a variety of funding sources to put teens in the community to work every summer, and the Tompkins Summer Youth Employment Program (TSYEP) is one of those sources. TSYEP was created specifically to help teens from low-income households and teens in the foster care system find employment. 

In this article, we’ll go over who specifically qualifies for this funding and what you’ll need to get started with the application.

(If TSYEP doesn’t sound like a match for you or your family, don’t worry! There are other ways to qualify for the YES Summer Jobs program. Learn more about those requirements here). 

There are a few indicators the YES team will use to determine if you/your teen qualify for TSYEP funding. First, teens who apply for TSYEP must be residents of New York state, under 21 years old, and either US citizens or qualified non-citizens. If you have any questions about eligibility, feel free to call the YES office at (607) 273-1849 for assistance. 

Additionally, teens applying for TSYEP must qualify for one or more of the following programs:

  • Family Assistance (FA) or Safety Net Assistance (SNA) Also known as TANF

  • Medicaid

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits

  • Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (Not SSD, and the applying teen must be the recipient of the SSI)

If a teen doesn’t qualify for any of these services, they may still be eligible for TSYEP funding if their family’s household income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. This threshold is dependent on the size of the household, and the YES staff will do an income check to confirm that teens qualify. If you’re not sure whether your family would qualify this way, we encourage you to fill out the TSYEP application just in case. 

The TSYEP application can be complicated, so unlike other YES forms we recommend that parents/guardians fill out this one, not teens. However, we understand this that isn’t possible for every family. If the adults in a teen’s family have a language barrier, for example, it’s totally OK for teens to fill out the application themselves. You can also get help from a member of the YES staff. Currently, the TSYEP application is available in English and Spanish.

Now that we’ve gone over some basics of TSYEP, here is what you’ll need to get started with the application:

  • A copy of the TSYEP form itself. YES will send an online form to the parents or guardians of teens who qualify (or may qualify) for TSYEP following their interview. However, if you prefer we can also send you a hard copy of the form. 

  • Some personal information. You’ll need to provide some identifying information for the teen applicant, including their social security number. If the applicant is not a US citizen, you’ll also need to know their immigration status, and USCIS Number (this information should be printed on their Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) or their Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94)). Having this necessary information at the ready before you begin the TSYEP application will help the process run more smoothly for you.

  • Proof of household income. This last piece is only required if the applicant does not qualify for any of the services listed above (FA, SNA, Medicaid, SNAP benefits, HEAP, or SSI). Acceptable proof of income documents include recent pay stubs (preferred) or most recent tax return. Note: TSYEP eligibility is based on total household income, so all adults in the applicant’s household will need to submit proof of income. Minors in the household who are working and adults who are full-time students do not need to submit proof of income. According to guidance from New York State, grandparents living in the home should not be included in family size nor should their income be listed (even if they are the primary caregivers of the teen). Teens in Foster Care will need their form signed by the Commissioner of DSS, so please reach out to us if that applies to you.

There’s a lot of information to digest here, so again, please feel free to reach out to the YES staff if you have questions throughout this process. If you’re filling out the TSYEP form online, you can also message our staff directly in the application platform if you need anything.