Decision in Food Stamp Case

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A court has ordered the city to start handing out millions of dollars in food stamps to poor New Yorkers incorrectly cut off from the benefit. The move settles a longstanding class action lawsuit. WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez reports.

The 2002 lawsuit was filed on behalf of thousands of people who had their food stamps cut off when they started receiving federal disability payments, known as SSI. The city acknowledged the mistake and blamed it on a computer glitch, but advocates say the Human Resources Administration ignored the problem.

Now HRA will begin the process of identifying all those wrongly cut off since 1999. The Urban Justice Center initiated the lawsuit and estimates the number could be as high as 34,000 households.The extra benefits will come from the United States Department of Agriculture, which has signed off on the agreement.

HRA says the issues addressed in the court order were resolved long ago. For WNYC, I'm Cindy Rodriguez.