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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 his or her grant by participation in workfare, it is 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 on EBT Restriction: Support the Governor’s Article VII Proposal with Added Client Protections
Governor Cuomo’s 2014-15 Executive Budget proposal includes legislation that would impose new limitations on the use of the cash assistance Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This is intended to comply with recently enacted federal requirements. Read More

Empire Justice Memo of Support: Ensure that Welfare Recipients are Not Punished for Being Disabled
Far too often, public assistance clients are sanctioned for non-compliance with work-related activities, yet the non-compliance is due to a unknown disability, child care problem or transportation difficulties. Empire Justice Center supports A.2669/S.4830, which will protect against unwarranted sanctions due to a disability. Read More

Why New York Should Adopt Seamless Transfer of SNAP Cases When Families Move from One County to Another
Low income families lose their SNAP benefits unnecessarily when they report a move to another county within New York State, causing hardship and delay for families and additional administrative burden for counties. 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 Comments to OTDA on Needs Assessment for 2014-2015 state Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) plan
Our comments to OTDA on the HEAP 2014-15 Needs Assessment. Read More



Empire Justice Testimony at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing: Human Services
Empire Justice testimony at the Human Services Joint Budget Hearing on February 4, 2014. Read More




Policy Related News

Empire Justice Center Applauds the Governor and State Legislature for Several Budget Outcomes Helping Low Income New Yorkers

Upon the release of the final 2014-2015 state budget, Empire Justice Center is pleased to see several of its legislative priorities contained within the budget, as it provides additional funding and resources for low income New Yorkers. Read More

Empire Justice Center Statement on Governor Cuomo Announcement that New York State Will Preserve $457 Million in Snap Benefits for 300,000 Households

Empire Justice Center wants to thank Governor Cuomo for his decisive action in ensuring that over 300,000 low income New Yorkers do not lose access to critical nutrition assistance. Read More

More Policy Related News >>


Policy Related Articles

Sanction Reform Campaign: Making Welfare Work :
New York must reform the laws governing “sanctions,” penalties imposed on welfare recipients who are alleged to have failed to comply with welfare work rules. Read More

Welfare Sanctions and Fair Hearings: A Profile in Injustice and Waste :
Sanctions clog up the State’s Fair Hearing apparatus with staggering numbers of hearings, a shocking percentage of which are withdrawn when the local district realizes that their position is indefensible. Read More

Empire Justice Center 2014 State Policy Priorities :
Empire Justice Center 2014 State Policy Priorities Read More

Policy Related Reports

Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability  This report provides an comprehensive analysis of New York’s use of Social Services Law §106, which allows Social Services Districts to recover public assistance paid to individuals who own their own homes, by taking a mortgage against the recipient’s property. The report also chronicles the legal background of the practice, the interplay between this policy and the push for foreclosure prevention, the need for detailed record keeping, and makes recommendations to ensure that debt is recovered against these mortgages only in the appropriate situations and for the correct amount.  Read More