Class Action Challenges New York’s Termination of SNAP for Certain Adults

On August 19, 2016 the Empire Justice Center, with NCLEJ as co-counsel, filed a federal class action lawsuit to challenge New York’s termination of SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, to thousands of New Yorkers. The benefits were terminated following New York State’s early 2016 implementation of a federal rule imposing a three month time limit on receipt of food stamps by able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) unless they meet work requirements. The lawsuit claims that the state’s highly flawed implementation violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and federal Food Stamp law by failing to ensure that only those properly subject to the ABAWD time-limit are terminated.

The lawsuit claims that the state fails to provide ABAWDs with: a) adequate and timely termination notice; b) adequate initial notice that informs them that they have been found to be subject to the ABAWD requirements, the nature of the applicable requirements, the applicable exemptions, the processes by which they can claim those exemptions from ABAWD work requirements and/or show that they are meeting the work requirements, and how to challenge the determination; and c) a fair process by which individuals can be individually assessed and claim exemption from the rule when the agency first identifies them as potentially subject to the rule.

The case, Brooks v. Roberts, was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. Susan Antos and Saima Akhtar of the Empire Justice Center represent plaintiffs. For further information contact Tedde Tasheff or Gina Mannix.