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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

2019 FINANCIAL CONDITION REPORT

Public Welfare


Public Assistance Disbursements by Source

Public Assistance Recipients Decrease to Lowest Level in Recent History

  • Family Assistance (FA) provides up to 60 months of cash assistance to eligible needy families; Safety Net Assistance (SNA) provides cash or non-cash assistance to eligible single adults, childless couples, persons who have exceeded the 60-month limit on Family Assistance, children living apart from adult relatives and certain other individuals. “Public assistance” as discussed in this report includes both programs.
  • The average monthly number of public assistance recipients in the State decreased to its lowest level in recent history, largely due to fewer FA recipients in New York City and fewer SNA recipients in areas outside of New York City.
  • Compared to the prior year, the average monthly number of recipients of public assistance in New York State decreased by 33,024 (6.1 percent) to 508,946.
  • The number of FA recipients decreased for the fifth year in a row, by 8.2 percent, bringing the cumulative decline over that period to 24.8 percent. SNA recipients decreased for the second consecutive year, by 4.8 percent. SNA is largely funded by the State and the counties, while FA is funded by the federal government.

Spending for Public Assistance Decreases for the Second Time in the Last Three Years

  • Public assistance spending decreased by $42.9 million (2.0 percent) compared to the previous year mainly because of a decrease in FA disbursements in New York City.
  • SNA disbursements, which accounted for over two-thirds (68.9 percent) of total public assistance spending in SFY 2018-19, increased only marginally (0.2 percent) over the prior year.
  • Compared to the prior year, FA disbursements in New York State decreased by $46.0 million (6.4 percent).

The Number of SNAP Recipients Decreases for Fifth Consecutive Year; Spending Decreases for Sixth Straight Year

Recipients of Public Assistance and SNAP
  • The number of recipients in the State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) decreased for the fifth consecutive year, following more than a decade of steady growth. SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is funded by the federal government.
  • Compared to the prior year, the average monthly number of recipients of SNAP in New York State decreased by 122,373 (4.3 percent) to over 2.7 million.
  • Disbursements for SNAP decreased for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Compared to the prior year, SNAP disbursements in New York State decreased by $179.9 million (3.8 percent) to $4.5 billion.

SSI Recipients Decrease for Third Consecutive Year; Disbursements Rise to Nearly $5 Billion

  • The number of recipients of Supplementary Security Income (SSI)—a State- and federally-funded program for the aged, blind and disabled with little or no income and resources—decreased by 12,342 (1.8 percent) to 683,370 in SFY 2018-19.
  • Compared to the prior year, SSI disbursements in the State increased by $13.9 million (0.3 percent) to nearly $5 billion. Of this amount, the federal government contributed $4.4 billion, an increase of $26.4 million (0.6 percent) compared to the prior year. State expenditures totaled $597.9 million, a decrease of $12.5 million (2.1 percent) compared to the prior year.

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