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state budget response fy25

NYLAG Responds to New York State’s FY 2025 Enacted Budget

ALBANY, NY – The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) released the following statement in response to New York State’s enacted budget for Fiscal Year 2025: 

“NYLAG’s work providing direct legal services vitally informs our policy advocacy, both to immediately benefit the communities we serve and in the longer term, to forge systemic changes that move our institutions towards racial, social, and economic equity.  

“In reviewing New York State’s enacted budget, we are pleased to see a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) to the Judiciary Legal Services (JLS) appropriation as well as the Interest on Lawyers’ Account (IOLA) Fund. We and our fellow legal service providers need these enhancements to pay our staff living wages for the critical work they do with New Yorkers experiencing poverty or a legal crisis. 

“Additionally, we commend the State for: 

  • filling the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding gaps to protect the few options survivors of domestic and sexual violence have in our justice systems, especially for survivors facing compounding institutional barriers such as poverty, racism, immigration status, and more; 
  • restoring the Disability Advocacy Program (DAP), highlighting the unique barriers disabled, low-income New Yorkers face in pursuing the Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability to which they’re entitled; 
  • ensuring dedicated funding for immigration legal services, as serving our new neighbors with expert legal services is not only the right and humane thing to do, but the more fiscally responsible option for our state in the long run; 
  • ensuring continuous Medicaid coverage for children from birth to age six without the need for annual eligibility assessments, which will improve health equity and overall child and family health for New Yorkers, lower the cost of care for families and providers, and stabilize our preventative and pediatric care systems; 
  • reforming our State’s broken Hospital Financial Assistance Law (HFAL) to reduce crippling lawsuits for medical debt and increase low- and no-cost care for low-income people in hospitals, and reducing copayments for insulin; 
  • sustaining the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program (MCCAP), through which NYLAG counsels and advocates for thousands of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries each year; and 
  • restoring Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP) funding, particularly as it protects homeowners of color facing foreclosures and displacement. 

“At the same time, we strongly condemn that this budget moves $55 million from IOLA to fund HOPP and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). As a legal services organization working with people experiencing poverty to ensure access to justice, we understand the need for HOPP, ERAP, and other vital programs our communities rely on for any chance at equity; however, we cannot overstate the equal importance of these very communities having meaningful access to the free civil legal services IOLA supports across New York — communities that, due to institutional racial, economic, and social injustices, bear the brunt of policy failures and don’t often see justice for the ramifications without legal advocates. Importantly, these communities rely on access to our services — again, supported by IOLA — to take cases enforcing HOPP and ERAP in the first place. 

“IOLA intentionally serves a broader range of legal needs than any one program alone, and its funding — explicitly designated for civil legal services for low-income New Yorkers — comes from non-taxpayer money. As such, IOLA was never the Governor’s funding to move, and we urge the State not to make this sweep a habit, as it would not only jeopardize the existence of the fund itself, but result in disaster for the communities we serve. 

“In addition to the IOLA sweep, we are disappointed to see cuts and/or omissions in the following areas: 

  • The FY 2025 budget drastically changed Medicaid’s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), which will make it more difficult for people on Medicaid to secure access to home care. Between Fiscal Intermediary reforms threatening disruption in care and new formalities, these changes will make it more difficult to hire a CDPAP worker, at a time when NYS faces one of the most dire home care workforce shortages in the country, and will no doubt lead to an increase in nursing home placement for lower income New Yorkers, denying the autonomy CDPAP offers.   
  • We are disappointed that the Budget deal failed to include Coverage4All, which would expand access to the Essential Plan to all immigrants, just as Governor Hochul previously expanded Medicaid to cover all immigrants aged 65 and over. 
  • We are similarly disappointed that the Consumer and Small Business Protection Act (CSPA) as written in the one-house budgets failed to make it into this final budget. As drafted, the Governor’s plan won’t allow consumers to bring individual claims against bad actors to court, as it keeps intact the requirement that a bad act must impact the public at large to bring a claim. For our clients, the ability to bring individual claims is of the utmost importance, as any bad act even on an individual scale can put a person into crisis when they already contend with systemic injustices making each financial hit all the more dire. 

“We look forward to continuing our advocacy on behalf of the communities we serve and working with our partners in government to tackle the racial, social, and economic injustices inherent in our institutions that in part make our work necessary.” 


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