Advocates emphasize importance of access to public assistance programs at committee hearing

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) – Wednesday, the Assembly Standing Committee on Social Services met to examine public assistance benefits following the pandemic and rising inflation.

Assembly members heard oral testimonies from advocates and agencies about actions they believe will help combat poverty and the challenges surrounding access to public assistance programs.

“Everybody needs help, all across New York State. People need help,” Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP-NY.

Some of the specific programs highlighted include cash assistance, Medicare savings, and the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). A majority of advocates emphasized in their testimonies that state leaders can help improve access to public assistance for New Yorkers, by increasing grant funding for these programs.

“The maximum grant levels just aren’t enough to be able to meet basic expenses,” Jessica Radbord, Senior Staff Attorney, Public Benefits, Empire Justice Center.

She added that some people are left with only $10 a month for food and other necessities, after paying rent through safety net assistance.


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