New York — More than half of all New Yorkers who apply for SNAP benefits, more commonly known as food stamps, are awaiting a response.
Federal funding is there, but the city has been slow to process the application and get it to those in need.
CBS2 has figured out why and what you can do about it.
The city’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) is processing applications for SNAP benefits expeditiously, in less than half the time.
Henry Robinson of Brooklyn, East New York, said he knows firsthand how difficult the system is to operate.
“I’m actually one of those individuals who relies on food stamps,” Robinson said. “You have to reapply and it’s always a process. And if you forget and they take it away, you have to start over.”
“The program doesn’t work if there’s no one to run it,” said City Councilman Lincoln Ressler.
Restler said more than half of New York food stamp applicants are waiting for their benefits to arrive because the HRA doesn’t have enough workers to process the paperwork.
According to him, during the de Blasio administration, the HRA had about 15,000 personnel. Now he is down to 10,000 and the vacancy rate is 20% for him.
“So, having the resources available to the federal government and the inability of cities and HRA to staff them properly means that people are not connected to the resources they need and deserve, and the food that keeps them healthy. said Ressler.
CBS2 asked City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams if enough measures were being taken.
“We will continue to press the Administration and work with it to try to meet these needs and to persuade these agencies to do the work they promised for New Yorkers,” Adams said. .
To make this worse, the number of applicants for SNAP benefits has increased by more than 50% in the two years during the pandemic, according to the city.
“We’re in a financial crisis,” Mayor Eric Adams said. there is no.”
The city is looking at ways to modernize its technology to handle applications more efficiently.