With more people clamoring for food stamps and turning benefits centers into fire hazards by waiting in line all day, creating human gridlock that the FDNY had to alleviate, the city is finally going to do something about it: Hire more people to distribute the benefits. Human Resources Administration Deputy Commissioner Patricia Smith told the City Council, "The alleviation of crowding at our office is a high priority."
According to the Wall Street Journal, City Council member Gale Brewer said "the council has received reports of a food-stamp center in the Bronx with an average applicant wait time of four to five hours. At a center in Brooklyn, people stand in line for seven hours a day." And one advocacy group said that 46% of food stamp applicants don't even get them because of the long lines. Smith says over 100 people have been hired to help address the situation.
The city does offer automated benefits, but applicants must be fingerprinted at centers (leading to a battle over whether recipients should be fingerprinted at all).
To qualify for food stamps in NY State, one must be single and make less than $14,088 a year, or $26,668 for a family of four.