Government Agency FAQ

General Questions:

What State and Local Government Agencies are covered by the Executive Law § 108?

What are my agency’s responsibilities under Executive Law § 108?

How can we be sure an individual is an ACP participant?

My agency needs to use actual address information to distinguish individuals with similar names.

My agency needs actual addresses to confirm eligibility for services.

My agency needs actual addresses in order to mail important time-sensitive notices.


Waiver Process Questions:

What is a “waiver”?

What does a waiver allow a government agency to do?

My government agency needs to collect actual address information; how can we apply for a waiver?

My agency has a bona fide need for actual addresses and has applied for a waiver; can we use actual addresses while our waiver application is under review?

My agency needs to use actual addresses for several of its programs; can it apply for a blanket waiver that covers the agency?

My agency is required to report case file information to the state (or federal) government, including address information; is this allowed under a waiver?

Many government agencies routinely contract with private agencies that deliver services to the agencies’ clients; will a waiver allow a government agency to share confidential address information with its private contractors?


What State and Local Government Agencies are covered by the Executive Law § 108?
Executive Law § 108, which established the ACP, applies to ALL state and local government entities, including state and local government departments, offices, boards, and commissions.  The law also applies to public authorities, public corporations, and other government entities that perform a governmental or proprietary function for the state or a local government.

What are my agency’s responsibilities under Executive Law § 108?
All government agencies are required to accept and use ACP substitute address instead of the participant’s actual address for all of the government records they maintain.

How can we be sure an individual is an ACP participant?
Each adult ACP participant will receive an ACP identification card that includes the participant’s substitute address.  A government employee can ask to see this card and can make a copy of the card for the agency’s records.

My agency needs to use actual address information to distinguish individuals with similar names.
Each ACP participant household receives a unique substitute address that can be used to distinguish these individuals from others served by the agency.

My agency needs actual addresses to confirm eligibility for services.
Many government programs rely on address information to establish program eligibility.  In many cases, though, there are already procedures in place to establish the eligibility of persons who cannot provide an address, such as individuals and families who are homeless.

My agency needs actual addresses in order to mail important time-sensitive notices.
The ACP will promptly forward mail that has been sent to an ACP participant’s substitute address.  Although ACP participants’ mail will be slightly delayed, mail should reach ACP households in a timely manner. 

What is a “waiver”?
Executive Law § 108 allows the Secretary of State to waive a government agency’s statutory obligation to use ACP substitute addresses when the agency has demonstrated a bona fide statutory or administrative need for actual addresses that cannot be met through changes to internal procedures.

What does a waiver allow a government agency to do?
A waiver allows a state or local government agency to collect and use the actual addresses of ACP participants for its internal purposes.  The waiver may be limited to specific records and may limit the government employees who can have access to those records.  An agency that is permitted to possess confidential actual address information pursuant to a waiver is prohibited from releasing that information to anyone outside the scope of the waiver unless a court orders the release of specific information to a specific person or to the court itself.

My government agency needs to collect actual address information; how can we apply for a waiver?
Government agencies can request waivers by submitting written application materials to the Department of State.  Information about the waiver application process is available here.  

My agency has a bona fide need for actual addresses and has applied for a waiver; can we use actual addresses while our waiver application is under review?
No.  A state or local government agency is legally required to use ACP substitute addresses unless and until it has received a waiver from the Secretary of State.

My agency needs to use actual addresses for several of its programs; can it apply for a blanket waiver that covers the agency?
The Secretary of State is required to verify both that an agency has a bona fide need to collect actual addresses and that the agency cannot change its internal procedures to meet that need.  An agency that has multiple programs with the same statutory or administrative requirements and the same internal procedures could submit a waiver application that covers all of those programs.  More likely, though, the specific legal or administrative requirements and internal procedures will vary from program to program, requiring separate waiver applications.

My agency is required to report case file information to the state (or federal) government, including address information; is this allowed under a waiver?
A state agency that is required to report address information to the federal government must request authority to do so in its waiver application.  If a local or state agency is required to communicate confidential address information to another local or state agency, both agencies must receive a waiver that specifically allows this communication of otherwise confidential participant address information.   The waiver applications for both agencies must request the authority to exchange actual address information with the other agency.

Many government agencies routinely contract with private agencies that deliver services to the agencies’ clients; will a waiver allow a government agency to share confidential address information with its private contractors?
No, Executive Law § 108 does not allow government agencies to share the confidential actual addresses of ACP participants with any private individuals or entities unless ordered by a court to do so.