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LAS Urges Halt on City's Plan to Resume Collections Against Public Benefits Recipients

The Legal Aid Society sent a letter urging New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner Steven Banks to halt the plan to resume billing individuals with existing SNAP, Public Assistance, and Medicaid payment and settlement agreements on November 1, 2020.

HRA, which doles out the state and federal funds, pursues thousands of these cases every year, often on inaccurate or other dubious grounds, according to THE CITY.

Despite assurances from HRA in late March that they, along with the NYC Law Department, will pause all agency claims and collections during the COVID-19 emergency, advocates were recently unofficially informed that billings would resume November 1, even amid the ongoing public health and financial emergencies.

HRA should suspend “collection on existing agency payment or settlement agreements indefinitely while New Yorkers deal with the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals and families are in no better financial position to meet these obligations now than they were in March. In fact, many are much worse off. There is no reason to believe they will be in better financial circumstances come Nov. 1,” said Adriene Holder, Attorney in Charge of the Civil Practice at The Legal Aid Society.