Press release from governor.ny.gov.
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced she signed a legislative package of two bills that will protect the rights of New Yorkers who receive public benefits and strengthen access to social services. These two bills will increase transparency on the rights of those applying to receive assistance and improve access to food assistance.
"As New Yorkers continue to recover from the economic pains of the pandemic, it is critical that we ensure that public assistance programs are properly serving our most vulnerable communities," Governor Hochul said. "These bills will educate people across the state on their rights when receiving social services and ensure that families don't struggle to put food on the table. I am proud to take important steps to protect and empower New Yorkers who receive public assistance because nobody deserves to experience food or childcare insecurity, homelessness, or any other life-threatening stresses."
"It is critical that struggling New Yorkers have equitable access to needed social services and public benefits," said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. "This new legislative package signed into law today by the Governor will improve transparency and protect the rights of those who must seek these services due to hardships that they are experiencing."
Legislation (S.3178A/A.5817A) will require the posting of the rights of individuals who are applying to receive assistance. This will notify the recipients of their basic rights which are established by law, such as a right to a fair hearing, the right to ask about emergency assistance, the right to apply for all benefits and services, the right to ask about child care, the right to free language services, the right to screening and special services if experiencing domestic violence, and the right to a written adequate notice.
Senator James Sanders Jr. said, "New Yorkers needing basic assistance should know their rights and benefits. This legislation will help people get the support they need for their families and themselves. Part of the role of a compassionate government is to provide assistance for basic needs that aren't being met."
Assemblymember Pamela J. Hunter said, "When accessing public benefits, it should be clear and concise what you are entitled to. Beneficiaries might not know that they are entitled to hearings, emergency assistance and other services. Physically posting these rights in social services offices is necessary since those utilizing these benefits may not have adequate internet access. I commend Governor Hochul for signing this legislation into law and look forward to its implementation."
Legislation (S.8972A/A.9749B) requires supplemental nutrition assistance programs to provide two electronic benefit transfer credit or debit cards for each household that has more than one parent or guardian residing in the household. This will provide recipients more convenience in utilizing their benefits to feed their families.
State Senator Julia Salazar said, "I'm proud to be sponsoring legislation as commonsense and as necessary as bill S8972A along with my colleague Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein. With all the pressures families are facing, legislation is necessary to address real needs in our marginalized underserved communities. This is one of those needs. We're making sure that all of the guardians that make up our homes have access to their approved benefits at a moment's notice, and not have to treat one's card like a relay race baton. SNAP is a federal program that helps over 40 million Americans every year and 1.8 million of those are New Yorkers. This is a pragmatic move and I thank every legislator that supports this bill. And thank you to Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law as we address the gaps in our system."
Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein said, "It's difficult enough when families who receive SNAP benefits must live under the constant pressure of feeding their children. Now they will no longer have to endure the inconvenience of sharing a card between two heads of households. This commonsense legislation is a simple, effective and practical solution to a frustrating and senseless problem. Thank you Governor Hochul for recognizing the importance of this issue and signing this bill into law."