Legal Aid Society


LAS Sues to Protect Families Who Receive SNAP, Cash Assistance Benefits

The Legal Aid Society, New York Legal Assistance Group, and Dechert LLP, filed a class action lawsuit against the New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) and Human Resources Administration (HRA) for failing to process applications and recertification for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and cash assistance within the 30-day timeframe required by federal and state law, as reported by the New York Daily News.

Both these benefits are essential for low-income people, they are used for the purchase of food and other basic needs. Delays cause thousands of families to face food instability, as they are forced to make impossible decisions like whether to pay their rent or feed their children.

Under the Food and Nutrition Act and New York Social Services Law, DSS and HRA are legally mandated to ensure that all eligible households in New York City receive SNAP and cash assistance benefits to which they are entitled. The lawsuit seeks to direct DSS and HRA to comply with their legal obligation to meet all processing timelines and to maintain reliable and functional application and recertification application processes.

“It is unacceptable that thousands of families who are eligible to receive life-sustaining benefits are forced to suffer and go hungry while they wait for HRA to process their cases and issue the benefits they are entitled to,” said Kathleen Kelleher, an attorney in the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “These households receive no substitute benefits or food during this time. Instead, they must go without benefits and miss meals until HRA gets around to processing their cases.”