Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Advocates Call on Governor Paterson to Reverse Mayor’s Decision

On March 7th, NYCCAH joined Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Comptroller William Thompson, and other advocates in urging Governor Paterson to accept the ABAWD waiver for New York State in order to override Mayor Bloomberg’s refusal of the waiver which would extend the length of time in which single adults could receive SNAP (f.k.a. “food stamps”) benefits while they search for work.

As the
joint letter to the Governor emphasizes, accepting the ABAWD waiver is a good moral and economic decision because it would bring $155 in federally-funded SNAP benefits into the New York State economy. Said Joel Berg, NYCCAH’s Executive Director, “Individuals – with or without children – still need to eat. By not accepting the waiver, New York City is refusing a life line paid for by the federal government. As anyone trying to find work in this economy could understand, it’s even more difficult to find a job when you’re hungry. Wasting city dollars to create make work jobs instead of actively accepting federal benefits that promote true work and self-sufficiency is the ultimate lose-lose.”

The Mayor continues to spout false claims about what the waiver would mean. For example, the Mayor stated that “People with dependents have to work so there’s no reason that people without dependents shouldn’t have to work. We, even in this market, are able to help an awful lot of them. If you want help, you’ve got to help yourself.”

His facts are simply wrong. First, he incorrectly suggests that the waiver would allow single adults to receive benefits without having to look for work and that they would have fewer work requirements than those with kids. In fact, by accepting the waiver, food stamp recipients without children would have exactly the same work requirements as those with children.

Secondly, in alluding to work placement, the Mayor again incorrectly confuses the Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF, more commonly known as “welfare”) program with food stamps/SNAP suggesting that it would allow single adults to receive benefits without having to look for work and have fewer work requirements than those with kids.

Governor Paterson did take recent positive action on nutrition assistance. His New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) David Hansell recently announced that more working families with high child care costs may now qualify for SNAP and other nutrition assistance benefits.

Please support extending SNAP benefits to single adults searching for work by calling Governor Paterson’s office at 518-474-8390 and ask the Governor to build on his anti-hunger progrsss by overruling mayor Bloomberg.

Also, please add your support to the comments on Public Advocate Gotbaum’s recent article on this issue in the Huffington Post.


Anonymous said...

would the city have to pay to extend the SNAP benefits after the one-time stimulus money given is gone? could the city afford this long-term commitment?

NYCCAH said...

Thank you for your question. The City would not have to pay to extend SNAP benefits. SNAP/Food Stamp benefits are federally funded so all the money for benefits to the program are paid for by the federal government. It is important to note, however, that state and local governments share 50/50 of the administrative costs with the federal government but these costs are minor compared to the costs of increasing benefits.