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2020 Financial Condition Report For Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2020
Caseloads Decreased in SFY 2019-20 Before the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Numbers of recipients of Public Assistance (PA), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) all declined in SFY 2019-20, continuing trends of recent years in each case.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York State near the end of the fiscal year was followed by significant increases in enrollment and spending for PA and SNAP in the first few months of SFY 2020-21. Detailed figures for SFY 2020-21 are not yet available.
Public Assistance Recipients Decreased to Lowest Level in Nearly 60 Years
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.
For SFY 2019-20, the average monthly number of public assistance recipients in the State decreased for the fourth straight year to its lowest level since 1962, according to the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). The decrease in recipients in SFY 2019-20 is largely due to fewer SNA adults in New York City, and fewer FA children statewide.
Compared to the prior year, the average monthly number of recipients of public assistance in New York State decreased by 40,675 (8.0 percent) to 468,270.
The number of FA recipients decreased for the sixth year in a row, by 9.8 percent, bringing the cumulative decline over that period to 32.2 percent. SNA recipients decreased for the third consecutive year, by 6.9 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 Third Time in the Last Four Years
Public assistance spending decreased in SFY 2019-20 for the second year in a row, by $111.0 million (5.2 percent), compared to the previous year mainly because of a decrease in FA disbursements statewide.
SNA disbursements, which accounted for over two-thirds (70.2 percent) of total public assistance spending in SFY 2019-20, decreased by 3.4 percent, compared to the prior year.
Compared to the prior year, FA disbursements in New York State decreased by $60.9 million (9.1 percent).
SNAP Recipients and Spending Continued Trend of Decline
The number of recipients in the State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) decreased for the sixth consecutive year in SFY 2019-20, 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 139,061 (5.1 percent) to about 2.6 million.
Disbursements for SNAP decreased for the seventh consecutive year.
Compared to the prior year, SNAP disbursements in New York State decreased by $200.1 million (4.5 percent) to $4.3 billion.
SSI Recipients Decrease for Fourth Consecutive Year; Disbursements Rise to $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 8,910 (1.3 percent) to 674,460 in SFY 2019-20.
Compared to the prior year, SSI disbursements in the State increased by $44.1 million (0.9 percent) to $5.0 billion. Of this amount, the federal government contributed $4.4 billion, an increase of $49.8 million (1.1 percent) compared to the prior year. State expenditures totaled $592.2 million, a decrease of $5.7 million (0.9 percent) compared to the prior year.