Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday unveiled a chicken-in-every-pot style payout to needy New Yorkers as she runs for a full term in office.
The move will see families on public assistance get $250 in extra support — culled from federal pandemic relief funds to New York — at a time of spiking inflation and consumer prices, according to a Friday press release.
“This one-time payment will provide tens of thousands of families with a critical lifeline to help pay past-due bills or other household expenses that accrued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hochul announced.
The move comes as Hochul faces criticism from political rivals left and right over her handling of crime and other top issues ahead of the June 28 Democratic primary for governor.
More than 100,000 families with children 17 years old and younger are expected to benefit from one-time payments that the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will begin disbursing May 14 via EBT cards, eligible families receiving written notification beforehand, according to the press release .
Federal pandemic aid approved last year will foot the bill for the $28 million program at a time when COVID-19 rates continue to rise across the state amid the highest inflation in decades.
“Help is on the way for working families across New York State. When I wrote the American Rescue Plan, I made sure to include robust investment for the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund to help struggling families with children to make ends meet, keep food on the table, cover bills, and pay for other critical expenses,” US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in the gubernatorial press release.
Hochul also announced Thursday that all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would receive maximum food stamp benefits through the end of May.
That would amount to an extra $95 per month for a family of four getting assistance from the federal program overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, according to a press release.
Joel Berg, executive director of the city-based nonprofit Hunger Free America, said an extra $250 will make a difference for families struggling to put food on the dinner table, but state and federal policymakers could do a lot more to help them moving forward.
“The biggest difference between people in poverty and people who are not income isn’t, it’s whether they own versus whether they owe and I think we really need to think about poverty policy entirely differently,” said Berg, who urged policymakers to pursue a higher minimum wage and expanded food assistance programs.
COVID-19 has wrought havoc on the supply chains near and far, with many families struggling to secure supplies of baby formula in recent days after producers initiated voluntary recalls.
The state is leaning on manufacturers to resolve supply issues while encouraging struggling New Yorkers to check their eligibility for additional assistance from the state Women, Infants and Children Office, according to a Thursday gubernatorial press release.
“I urge every parent and guardian to take advantage of these resources and keep up to date with important information to take care of their families,” the governor said in the press release.