NY proposes regs ending fingerprinting for food stamps
May 17th, 2012
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has proposed regulations prohibiting agencies from requiring fingerprints from food stamp recipients.
The regulations will most significantly affect New York City, the only jurisdiction in the state that currently fingerprints people who want to receive the benefits.
City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar said in a statement that fingerprinting “identifies potential duplicate payments and prevents fraud.” He said the policy has “saved more than $35 million over the last decade in a program that now provides services for 1.8 million New Yorkers annually.”
“We remain committed to doing everything we can, consistent with state and federal regulations, to protect the integrity of the food stamp program,” he continued.
There will be a 45-day public comment period before the regulations issued by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance are finalized. Under the regulations, counties will not need a waiver to be exempt from fingerprinting.
The move will leave Arizona as the only state that requires fingerprinting for food stamp access.
The administration and advocates say the practice stigmatizes recipients and makes it more likely that children will go without food.
“There is never an excuse for letting any child in New York go to bed hungry,” Cuomo said in a statement. “For too long, requiring finger imaging from those eligible for food stamp benefits has created an unnecessary barrier to participation in the program, causing a negative stigma and keeping food off the table for those in need.”
Council Speaker Christine Quinn and General Welfare Committee Chair Annabel Palma issued a statement praising Cuomo’s decision. “We are confident that the integrity of the food stamp program will be maintained and are pleased New Yorkers will no longer be forced to go through this process,” they said in their statement.By David King on May 17, 2012, 1:34 pm
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