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Testimony: Public Benefits Processing Delays are Leaving Families in a state of Emergency

There have been several public benefit processing delays and yet, we have not heard from the Human Resource Administration about a meaningful and effective plan to address these delays. Families are in a constant state of emergency due to these delays. Abby Biberman, the Associate Director of the Public Benefits Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), spoke before the New York City Council Committee on General Welfare about SNAP and Cash Assistance benefit delays. Below is an excerpt from her testimony: 

I testified before the council in December of 2022 about HRA’s persistent delays in processing applications and recertifications for SNAP and Cash Assistance benefits, and about how our clients were left without benefits to feed and care for their families. I spoke about HRA’s failing to maintain functional systems both online and in person that enable SNAP and cash assistance applicants and recipients to obtain and maintain benefits—including the failure to process paperwork, index documents, and conduct interviews—and how this affects a person’s ability to apply for rental assistance to stop their eviction, and contributes to the churn’ of applicants and recipients. 

“As of August 31, 2023, over 32,000 households were still experiencing delays. I have concerns about HRA’s ability to come into compliance.” 

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