Mayor Bloomberg refused to accept funding that would have given able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) more time to find employment while receiving SNAP benefits (f.k.a. Food Stamps). This funding is available through a provision in the federal stimulus bill.
As Public Advocate Gotbaum and Joel Berg (NYCCAH’s Executive Director) emphasized in a recent letter to the editor in the New York Post, the ABAWD waiver is designed to specifically designed to address hunger during a time of high unemployment.
It is important to note that, despite some incorrect statements in the media, ABAWDs who are currently receiving food-stamp benefits are already required to search for work. The provision in the stimulus bill only extends the amount of time for ABAWDs to find a job.
NYCCAH joined other advocates at a press conference with Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum to emphasize the importance of the provision, not only to the recipients, but to the city economy overall. Stressing this point Gotbaum stated, “Food stamps are an essential part of the stimulus because the money ultimately goes to our city’s small businesses: grocery stores and bodegas, green markets and vegetable stands.”
Joel Berg, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, echoed this message stating, “this decision is certainly a ‘lose-lose’ both for the City and for its low-income residents.”
The Bloomberg administration says it is not obligated to extend Food Stamp benefits to anyone not enrolled in the Work Experience Program, a program that requires benefits recipients to work a minimum of 20 hours a week at unpaid jobs to receive their benefits. But as noted in a New York Times Editorial, “forcing people to take make-work jobs to qualify for food assistance takes valuable time away from the search for a real job. That’s counterproductive.”
Please contact Mayor Bloomberg and let him know that you support the acceptance of the provision that would extend SNAP benefits to ABAWDs.