On June 14, 2004, individuals and families potentially eligible for food stamps in New York City filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York under 7 U.S.C. § 2020 and 7 C.F.R. §273.2. The defendants to the lawsuit were the New York Department of Social Services and the New York State ...
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On June 14, 2004, individuals and families potentially eligible for food stamps in New York City filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York under 7 U.S.C. § 2020 and 7 C.F.R. §273.2. The defendants to the lawsuit were the New York Department of Social Services and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). The plaintiffs, represented by the Urban Justice Center, Welfare Law Center and the New York Legal Assistance Group, asked the court to permanently enjoin the defendants from (1) failing to provide food stamps to eligible families within the federally-mandated time frames, (2) deterring needy families from applying for food stamps, (3) failing to provide expedited food stamps for eligible families within the federally-mandated time frames, and to (4) identify all parties unlawfully deterred and provide them with benefits. The plaintiffs also asked the to court to enter declarations stating the failures of the defendants' policies.
The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants have practices and policies in place that discourage, deter, and event eligible families from filing applications for Food Stamps. The plaintiffs also alleged that the state defendants failed to adequately oversee the city defendant's administration of Food Stamps.
Two additional individuals filed, and were granted, motions to intervene on July 14, 2005. The class was certified on March 3, 2008.
The District Court approved a settlement in 2008. Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will: (1) screen all Food Stamp applications submitted to Food Stamp Centers for eligibility for expedited processing; and (2) provide Food Stamps to eligible households within five days if eligible for expedited food stamp processing, and within thirty days if otherwise eligible, unless the delay was caused by the household. OTDA must supervise The New York Department of Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services's (HRA) implementation of the federal timeliness requirements.
The original settlement did not include cost of attorney fees. The parties disputed the cost of attorney fees in court for the next four years, until a settlement was reached where the plaintiffs were rewarded $65,000 in attorney fees in 2012.Daniel Fryer - 10/05/2016