NEW YORK (1010 VICTORIES) — The New York City Human Resources Administration has been mired in food stamp application processing delays that have affected about 40% of applicants, according to a new report.
The timely processing rate for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits decreased from 92% to 60% between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, according to the HRA Mayor’s Annual Management Report.
SNAP benefits are sent to an electronic card that allows recipients to purchase groceries. Eligibility is determined by income, and any delay could mean the difference between eating and going hungry for some.
The HRA said it was overwhelmed by a massive number of new applications and the end of a program that allowed recipients to skip recertification processes at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic caused a massive influx of applications as the economy suffered and New Yorkers found it harder to put food on the table. The number of applications has increased by more than 50% since 2019.
There are currently about 1.7 million New Yorkers in about 1 million households registered with SNAP, a slight decrease from the previous year, according to the report.
The influx of people in need coincided with massive personnel losses for the HRA.
About 15% of the HRA’s more than 13,000 positions were vacant at the end of 2021, according to the New York City Independent Budget Office. The number of vacancies increased to around 20% at the end of October 2022.