Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Representative Velázquez Calls for Extended Food Stamp Coverage as Job Market Wanes

For New Yorkers seeking employment, food stamps can offer a financial lifeline during the job-seeking process. A new proposal would extend the time period in which job seekers can receive benefits, as food prices continue to rise and the job market remains weak.

On July 29, Representative Nydia Velázquez of New York’s 12th District introduced the Food Security Act of 2008, which would make food stamp benefits available to unemployed Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) for a full twelve months. Current law limits unemployed ABAWDs to three months of food stamp benefits for every 36 month period in which they remain unemployed. Velázquez’s measure comes on the heels of a dismal season for job seekers, with the unemployment rate in May spiking to the highest monthly rate in 20 years. In 2007, 1.6 million City residents stated that they would be unable to afford necessary food items after losing their household income. “When New Yorkers find their resources stretched thin, the food stamp program puts meals on millions of tables,” said Velázquez. “Extending the program would offer fast relief for those struggling to make ends meet.”

Velázquez was joined in calling for the measure by NYCCAH Executive Director Joel Berg and representatives of the Food Bank for New York City, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the Department of Labor.

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