Steven Banks, the new commissioner of New York City’s Human Resources Administration (“H.R.A.”) announced changes that make it easier to receive public assistance. The purpose of these immediate reforms is to remove policies that have harmed welfare recipients in the past, as well as to address unnecessary financial penalties.
Changes have been made in the following areas:
- Adults with no children
Adults with no children are no longer required to work full-time in order to receive food stamps.
- Excused Absences from Work Programs
A new pilot program will allow people receiving welfare up to five excused absences from their employment program. This will allow recipients be away from work in case of illness or a family emergency without affecting their welfare award.
- Appointment Reminders
The Agency is creating a system that will use phone calls and text messages to remind welfare recipients of their upcoming appointments with the agency.
Four-year college attendance
A change in state law allows welfare recipients to count attendance to a four-year college towards their employment and training requirements.
In addition, the commissioner of the H.R.A. emphasized the importance of reporting transparent and accurate data regarding job placement and announced that he hopes to create two new rental subsidy programs for the homeless.
1. If you have a question about how this new law applies to you, you can contact the NYC Bar Legal Assistance Hotline for brief and free legal advice. To speak with a counselor, call 212.626.7383.
1. Share your thoughts and personal stories on how you think these changes will affect low-income residents of New York City. Click here to start a discussion thread.