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Time to Leave Finger Prints Behind

July 18, 2012

UPDATE: OTDA has proposed a regulation to eliminate finger imaging for Food Stamps.  The public comment period ended on July 16, 2012.   Here’s a link to Empire Justice Center’s comments.  OTDA is in the process of reviewing all the comments now.

Governor Cuomo Says No More Finger Imaging for Food Stamp Applicants.  Click here to join us in thanking the Governor for eliminating Finger Printing for Food Stamps.

Governor Cuomo announced the elimination of finger imaging applicants for Food Stamp Benefits on May 17, 2012. As many of you know, this has been a top priority for Empire Justice Center.  We are incredibly pleased and proud that Governor Cuomo is eliminating this significant barrier to accessing Food Stamp Benefits.

Over 15 years ago, finger imaging was touted as the most technologically advanced tool to prevent individuals from defrauding the state and receiving additional benefits.  However, repeated studies, including our own "Time to Leave Finger Prints Behind," showed that finger imaging was ineffective in detecting fraud, discriminates against a wide range of people, and significantly reduces participation by eligible households.  Finger imaging wastes valuable tax dollars by costing millions per year for a private contractor to administer.  Today, New York wisely became one of 49 states throughout the country that has abandoned the archaic practice of finger imaging people for Food Stamp benefits. 

Please join us in applauding Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to improving access to Food Stamp Benefits for all New Yorkers in need by sending him a thank you message.

Across the country, all but two states, Arizona and New York, have abandoned the costly and problematic fraud prevention tool in conjunction with the Food Stamp program.  New evidence, released in a report by Empire Justice Center supports immediately curtailing the use of the practice in New York as well.   

The report analyzes a year’s worth of New York City Fair Hearings involving finger imaging.  In 97% of the cases, the client either won the Fair Hearing, the agency was found to have made a mistake, or new evidence came to light.  The agency won just 3% of cases. 

The real life impact is that the finger imaging requirement is repeatedly and unnecessarily leaving the elderly,  families with young children, and disabled individuals – both young and old - without desperately needed nutritional assistance.

Click here to read the report.

More Information:

California and Texas both recently stopped finger imaging food stamp recipients.


Download the PDF: Time to Leave Finger Prints Behind

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