Created: 11/18/2013 7:19 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
A public interest law firm claims the state cheated thousands of local families out of benefits they desperately needed. Now the state is being forced to pay them.
The lawsuit is $80 million. Many families saw the first bump in their benefits over the weekend. More than 12,000 people in Monroe County alone are impacted. That adds up to more than $6.7 million. It also includes more than $650,000 in Ontario and Wayne counties.
The state settled back in June of this year and now after months of trying to figure out who the money should go to. Families are now seeing some of that boost, right before the holiday season.
The Empire Justice Center claims between August of 2009 and December of 2012, the state illegally cut off benefits to certain food stamp recipients who they felt violated a worker obligation. But since the state did not notify the recipients of the cuts, a federal court judge ruled the state has to pay that money back-to those who were affected. Those people should see an average of around $400 extra this month. It's money that couldn't have come at a better time. Not only because the holidays are right around the corner, but also because of the other program cutbacks that began this month.
Bryan Hetherington, Empire Justice Center, Chief Counsel, said, “It was hugely important and the overall sum is important. But for every single one of these families that were illegally deprived of basic things like food, it's hugely important.
The money will be transferred right on to electronic benefit transfer cards. If you haven't received a bonus in your card yet, chances are you were not a part of this lawsuit. Recipients should be receiving a letter in the mail within the next few days, providing them with individual information.