SNAP Benefits Delays Expose Disparities in Assistance Access for Struggling New Yorkers
New Yorkers facing financial struggles due to SNAP benefits delay, despite improvements by HRA; those receiving cash assistance also affected, prompting a court order to resolve backlog by March 2024 due to a lawsuit; COVID-19 exacerbates issues with staff shortages and phone access, underscoring the need for sustained improvements.
Unequal Treatment: New Yorkers Experience SNAP Benefits Delay, With Disparities Between Timely Help and Prolonged Waiting for Assistance
New Yorkers facing ‘SNAP benefits delay’ situation where some are getting timely help while others are left waiting. According to CityLimits, the Human Resources Administration (HRA) in the city has improved its processing of applications for food stamps, also known as SNAP benefits. However, those who receive cash assistance for things like rent are facing SNAP benefits delay in processing their applications. Many of these people also receive SNAP benefits, but the improvements seen in the food stamp system haven’t extended to the cash assistance cases.
Katie Kelleher, a lawyer from the Legal Aid Society, pointed out that SNAP benefits delay are particularly affecting families getting both cash assistance and SNAP benefits. The rules for processing these applications require them to be dealt with in 30 days, as reported. About 1.7 million people in New York rely on SNAP benefits, with around 480,000 also receiving cash assistance as of June.
Court Mandate Aims to Alleviate SNAP Benefits Delay and Clear Application Backlog by 2024 Amid COVID-19 Struggles and Mixed Improvements
To address these SNAP benefits delay issues, a court order was given in July that mandates the city to clear the backlog of both SNAP and cash assistance applications by March 2024. This comes from a lawsuit highlighting the city’s failure to provide entitled benefits. Though improvements have been made in SNAP-only cases, the processing of cash assistance cases remains slow.
COVID-19 has made things worse due to a surge in applications and staff shortages. Getting through to HRA on the phone has been a problem, especially for the required phone interviews. The pandemic and staffing issues have created challenges, but recent efforts to improve processes are having mixed results. Although there’s been progress, many New Yorkers are still without crucial benefits, making it clear that more consistent improvements are needed to help the city’s vulnerable populations.