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Public Benefits

The Public Benefits Policy Advocacy section contains Legislative Memos, Letters, Comments and Testimony. You will also find news items, articles and reports that relate to our policy work in public benefits.



Legislative Memos

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Require Local Districts to Credit the Minimum Wage Value of Workfare when Recovering Properly Paid Public Assistance
When an individual works off their grant by participation in workfare, it's only fair that the value of that work be credited against any recovery that the local district is entitled to make. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Require Districts to Maintain Child Care Waiting Lists
This bill would require local social services districts to maintain waiting lists of all families who are eligible for child care assistance, and to provide an annual report to the Office of Children and Family Services. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Provide a Fair and Realistic Automobile Resource Rule
This bill will raise the resource level for automobiles to a uniform $9,300 and thereby permit low income families to own reliable cars under all circumstances. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Exempt Retirement Accounts as a Resource for Public Assistance Recipients
This bill would exempt Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs from consideration as a resource when determining eligibility for public assistance. Read More

More Legislative Memos >>



Policy Letters

Letter from Advocates to Nassau and Suffolk DSS re: D-SNAP
On November 27th, advocates from Long Island and around the state wrote to DSS Commissioners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties asking them to request D-SNAP from the federal government to assist Long Island residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Read More



Empire Justice Center Comments on SNAP Income Conversion Factors
Current income conversion standards permit states to select the most efficient methodology to help simplify procedures for state eligibility workers and limit barriers to participation for families in need. A shift in this will increase state agency costs, and county workload in our county administered benefits system. Read More



Empire Justice Testimony on the New York State Supplement Program
Empire Justice Center testimony on the impact that State takeover has had on the administration of the State Supplement Program and delivery of benefits to eligible recipients. Read More




Policy Related News

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Cuomo's Hate and Human Rights Laws Expansion

The horrifying events that transpired in Charlottesville this past weekend showed us all that we have a long road ahead of us to reach a place where hate has no home in our hearts. We all have a responsibility to stand for what it right. Read More

Empire Justice Stands with Immigrants & Their Families

Empire Justice Center is proud to be one of more than 180 organizations across the country to stand up and speak out against the completely un-American attack on immigrants proposed by Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Tom Cotton (R-AR), and championed by President Donald Trump. Read More

More Policy Related News >>


Policy Related Articles

Amendments to the Welfare Work Rules: Financial Literacy and Non-Traditional Jobs :
A new law has been signed by Governor Cuomo that will modify the public assistance work rules aimed at helping women gain greater access to jobs in traditionally male-dominated fields, and encouraging participation in financial literacy and personal finance instruction. To some degree, the structure of the new law may limit its effectiveness, but advocates and welfare recipients should be aware of the possible opportunities the legislation may offer. Read More

Session Wrap 2017: Employment & Financial Literacy :
Just before the 2017 legislative session ended, a bill making two modifications to the public assistance work rules passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature. This legislation is well intentioned, designed to facilitate women’s entry into non-traditional jobs, and to offer welfare recipients financial literacy education as a work activity, but some of the details may limit the effectiveness and impact of the law. Read More

Empire Justice Center 2017 State Legislative Priorities :
As New Yorkers, we unite around the concepts of liberty, equality and opportunity. In 2017, Empire Justice Center’s top priorities will be focused on identifying and fostering ways to strengthen New York’s laws, our communities, and each other, to protect justice for ALL New Yorkers. Read More

Policy Related Reports

Turn up the Heat: It’s Time to Raise New York’s Shelter and Fuel Allowances  Turn up the Heat illustrates how the public assistance shelter and fuel allowances are so far out of step with the actual costs of housing and heating, they are pushing many financially fragile New Yorkers out of homes and into homelessness.  Read More