Improper Deprivations of SNAP Benefits (2015)

Improper Deprivations of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits

Non-Litigation Advocacy

On April 8, 2015, NYLAG sent a letter to NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) and NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) for correction of a widespread pattern of improper deprivations of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, resulting from HRA workers’ failure to apply the proper Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) to clients’ SNAP budgets, in violation of 7 U.S.C.A. § 2014(e)(6)(C) and 18 NYCRR 387.12(f)(3)(v).  NYLAG asked that they (1) correct ongoing SNAP budgets, (2) retroactively restore benefits lost due to the assignment of incorrect SUA levels, (3) revise Notices of Decision, and (4) ensure that workers calculate SNAP benefits using appropriate SUA levels in the future.

In response to our letter, OTDA has identified 40,365 SNAP households in New York City which were improperly deprived of SNAP benefits due to SUA errors, and has received USDA approval to issue approximately $31 million in retroactive SNAP benefits to those households.  HRA has corrected those households’ SNAP budgets going forwards, and taken steps to ensure that budgets are calculated correctly in the future.

NYLAG continues to negotiate with OTDA and HRA regarding additional measures to restore benefits to households which did not receive HEAP benefits, and to prevent future budgeting errors due to SUA assignments.

NYLAG Attorneys:  Julia Russell, Camille Zentner, Abby Biberman