Language Access Policies and Plans

New York State Office of Language Access

The Office of Language Access provides critical oversight and coordination across New York State agencies to ensure that the statewide language access policy, which Governor Hochul expanded in April 2022, is implemented efficiently and effectively. The Office of Language Access is a part of the Office of General Services, which also supports New York’s language access policy by maintaining the State contract through which agencies are able to access vendors that provide interpretation and translation services.

Visit the New York State Office of Language Access (OGS)

Language Access Law

There are millions of New Yorkers who do not speak English as their primary language and have limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. For these New Yorkers, their Limited English Proficient (LEP) status presents potential barriers to accessing important government programs and services. In April 2022, New York State’s language access policy was codified and expanded part of the FY 2023 Enacted Budget and took effect on July 1, 2022.

Under the language access law, all State agencies that interact with the public must provide interpretation services in any language with respect to the provision of agency services or benefits, and must translate vital agency documents into the top 12 most commonly spoken non-English languages among LEP New Yorkers based on Census data.

Language Access Plans and Policies

What is a Language Access Plan?

State agencies are required to provide language assistance services (translation and interpretation) to people of Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

A Language Access Plan sets forth the actions to be taken by the agency to ensure meaningful access to their services. This includes but is not limited to the list of translated documents and languages available, total staff with language access skills and abilities, training plan, annual monitoring plan, and outreach strategies. Agencies are required to regularly update their Language Access Plans

Free Help in Your Language

Call (800) 342-3736 for free help in your language. 

If you need a document translated into your language, send an email to [email protected]

Learn more about how to contact DFS on our Contact Us page.

Automated Translation Services

The translation of this website into languages other than English is managed using automated translation software. Translation is available via the header and footer on every page of this website. We have attempted to provide an accurate translation through the use of this automated translation software.

Translate a Webpage with Your Browser

If you are using a desktop or laptop and would like to translate a website into your preferred language by changing your browser settings, visit for directions.

Vital Documents

What is considered a vital document? Vital written documents include, but are not limited to "any paper or digital document that contains information that is critical for obtaining agency services or benefits or is otherwise required to be completed by law."

Top Twelve Languages

Based on US Census data the following are the top 12 languages spoken in New York State:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Haitian-Creole
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Urdu
  • Yiddish

This may change over time.


New York State’s language access policy requires Executive State agencies that provide direct public services to offer interpretation services in the language requested and provide important forms and documents in at least the top 12 most commonly spoken languages in New York State, in addition to English. This helps the State to overcome language barriers to public services and programs for people with Limited English Proficiency. At the moment, the top twelve languages are: Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Yiddish, Bengali, Korean, Haitian Creole, Italian, Arabic, Polish, French, and Urdu.

Right to File a Language Access Complaint

If you feel that we have not provided you with an interpreter or have denied you an important translated document, please complete an online complaint form to give us your feedback.

The information that you provide on the online complaint form will help improve New York’s language access services. This form asks you to provide contact information so that we can contact you. All of your personal information will be kept confidential.

Waiver of Interpretation Services