Call to postpone charges until the public health emergency due to COVID-19 is lifted | The NY Journal
On November 1, the city would begin collecting payments to beneficiaries of the SNAP, Public Assistance and Medicaid programs.
NEW YORK.- The City, through the Human Resources Administration (HRA), would be about to resume the charges to the beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), Public Assistance and Medicaid, while the financial crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen New Yorkers, the Legal Aid Society denounced this Tuesday.
The defense organization revealed that it initiated an action to urge the city to stop the plan to resume from the 1st. November, billing to people with payment and settlement agreements for the aforementioned care services.
The Legal Aid Society sent a letter on Tuesday urging New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner Steven Banks, reminding him that, in late March, that organization, along with The New York City Legal Department would suspend all claims and collections from the agency for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.
“Those hardest hit in terms of unemployment have been immigrants and people of color, communities that, in our experience, are disproportionately affected by the law enforcement actions in question here,” noted Legal Aid Society.
Advocates warn that resuming collections on Nov. 1 will exacerbate the burdens struggling New Yorkers already face during this unprecedented economic and public health crisis generated by the pandemic. Furthermore, the Legal Aid Society insisted, the proposed resumption date is totally inadequate to ensure adequate notice after eight months of non-collection and after the Agency promised advocates and consumers that they would work with them to resolve subsequent ongoing difficulties. to the crisis.
“New York continues to fight the virus and the pandemic while devastating most of the country and, at the same time, the emergency of COVID-19 has caused high levels of unemployment and financial difficulties for millions of New Yorkers”, states in one of the considering the letter sent to the city authorities.
More demand for healthcare services
According to data managed by the Legal Aid Society, applications and registrations for the SNAP program, cash assistance and Medicaid have skyrocketed. The organization noted that the relief from Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, an invaluable lifeline for millions of New Yorkers, has expired. Despite some reopening, many businesses remain closed. Jobs are scarce and economic stability is a long way off, especially as New York tries to “reopen” safely.
In addition, says the Legal Aid Society, if billing resumes, the thousands of New Yorkers who cannot meet their payments will be forced to litigate in state courts, posing serious public and individual health problems.
“Lastly, while we are aware of the fiscal crisis facing the City as a result of the COVID-19 emergency, budget deficits should not be covered at the expense of struggling New Yorkers,” the organization added.
As COVID-19 cases increase in the country and in many areas of New York, Legal Aid urges HRA to abandon its plan and continue to halt these collections during the COVID-19 financial crisis or at least maintain collections. up to 60 days after the Federal Public Health Emergency is lifted to allow adequate notice to affected people, the Legal Aid Society finally stressed.